Country Listing

Chile Table of Contents



The Carabineros are commanded by a director general and organized geographically into three main zones--the Northern Zone, the Central Zone, and the Southern Zone. Each of these zones is in turn subdivided into prefectures (prefecturas), subprefectures (subprefecturas), commissariats (comisarías), subcommissariats (subcomisarías), lieutenancies (tenencias), reserves (retenes), and outposts (puestos avanzados).

The Carabineros also include marine and air sections. The Air Police, which ranks as a separate prefecture, dates from 1946, when it was formed with a single Aeronca Champion aircraft. The Air Police acquired its first helicopter in 1968; by 1993 its inventory of helicopters had increased to fourteen (see table 46, Appendix).

Operationally, the Carabineros are divided into seventeen departments: analysis and evaluation, armaments and munitions, borders and boundaries, civic action, data processing, drug control and prevention of offenses, finance, forestry, internal security, legal, minors, police services, public relations, social action, supply, traffic control, and transport. In addition to their normal law enforcement and allied functions, the Carabineros perform extensive civic action, including the provision of medical and dental services to the populations of the less developed regions of the country and the protection of forests and wildlife. The Carabineros are also responsible for customs control and the Presidential Guard. Separate prefectures deal with the Air Police, the Radio Patrol, and the Special Forces.

The largest single concentration of Carabineros is in Santiago, where apart from headquarters and administrative personnel, the schools, and the Presidential Guard, there are five geographical prefectures: the Central Prefecture, North Prefecture, South Prefecture, East Prefecture, and West Prefecture. These are in turn subdivided into twenty-six territorial and nine operational commissariats.

Data as of March 1994