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AZ DPS

About PISA (Policia Internacional Sonora Arizona)

PISA LogoPurpose

PISA’s goal is to enhance international communication, train officers in laws and procedures across borders, and to continue the spirit of cooperation that has been achieved between the law enforcement agencies of these neighboring countries.  To accomplish this mission, PISA increases the cultural awareness with agencies and promotes networking with counterparts across the border. Success is exemplified by increasing our membership to now include agencies from other states on both sides of the border.

Constant communication across borders is a vital tool that allows both countries to reach a consensus on current and critical issues of common interest and benefit to citizens on both sides. These topics are covered during the intermittent training sessions scheduled throughout the year and especially at the annual meetings (reunions).

Incorporated in 2003 as a non-profit organization, PISA is dedicated to training Law Enforcement Officers on real-world criminal problems.

General Information / Background

In early 1978, two Douglas Police Department investigators and two supervisors from the Sonora State Police met in Douglas, Arizona for an informal meeting. It was at this gathering that the group of four came up with the idea of holding meetings between the authorities of Arizona and Sonora. They decided to call this meeting/reunion PISA (Policia Internacional Sonora-Arizona).

From the initial meeting of the four officers, PISA meetings have continued to foster better communications between the law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border in their daily fight to combat criminal activity. The success and effectiveness of such a meeting has caused the evolution of the membership to expand to several agencies from other states on both sides of the border. 

Since 1978, attendance at reunions has increased from the original few to almost five hundred persons representing all levels of government including the Mexican State Department and U.S. law enforcement.  As PISA continued to be a valuable source of information, training was offered to members to further explain the operation of the criminal justice systems in both the United States and Mexico.

Increased cooperation with cross-border counterparts has been evident in numerous other situations but especially in the recovery of stolen vehicles from Mexico.  The Arizona Department of Public Safety reports an increase from a few hundred recoveries a year some twenty years ago, to recovering an average of a thousand vehicles a year now.

Since the adoption of the NAFTA Treaty, highway safety for commercial vehicles has become critical and is a mutual concern for both the U.S. and Mexico.  Again, working with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, PISA has fostered cooperation that has enabled DPS to provide educational seminars to Mexican carriers. DPS continues to provide the standard eighty-hour CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) courses which have certified over 100 Mexican Federal Highway Patrol Officers and thirty Federal Transportation Inspectors as Inspectors in the Federal Motor Carrier Rules and Regulations. This on-going project has now expanded to Sonora and Sinaloa.

The successes coming from the networking of the PISA reunions are extremely valuable to include the initiation of several new programs that increase the assistance and cooperation of the Mexican authorities. In 1988, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started a program called MALLET (Mexican American Liaison-Law Enforcement Training) seminars. Each year, the FBI hosts five of these MALLET seminars for Mexican officers in various locations throughout the Border States.  An additional program with much success has been the liaison developed by the U.S. Marshals Service with agents assigned to locate and apprehend U.S. fugitives still in Mexico as well as the apprehension and prosecution of smugglers of undocumented individuals

One of the most important areas of cooperation arising from the reunion of PISA is the actual savings of lives of individuals lost in the deserts.  Banding together and sharing intelligence, the PISA member agencies have rescued several Mexican Nationals lost in the deserts of Arizona.

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