Carabineros de Chile

Carabiniers of Chile (Spanish: Carabineros de Chile) are the Chilean national police force, who have jurisdiction over the entire national territory of Chile.

Carabiniers of Chile
Carabineros de Chile
MottoOrden y Patria
Order and Fatherland
Agency overview
FormedApril 27, 1927[1]
Preceding agency
  • Cuerpo de Carabineros
    Policía Fiscal
Operational structure
Overviewed byDirección General
HeadquartersSantiago de Chile
Agency executive
  • Hermes Soto Isla, General Director

Created in 1927, their mission is to maintain order and create public respect for the laws of the country. They reported to the Ministerio de Defensa Nacional (Ministry of National Defense) through the Undersecretary of Carabiniers but since 2011, the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security has full control over them. They are in practice separated fully from the three other military branches by department but still considered part of the armed forces. Chile also has an investigative police force, the Investigations Police of Chile, also under the Interior and Public Security Ministry; a Maritime Police also exists for patrol of Chile's coastline.


The origins of the Carabiniers can be traced back to night watchmen such as the Dragones de la Reina (Queen's Dragoons) (created in 1758 and later renamed the Dragoons of Chile in 1812) and other organizations that fulfilled functions such as the watch and local policing.

Later, cities such as Santiago and Valparaíso created their own city police forces. In 1881 the Rural Police (Policía Rural) was created for the rural areas of the country. However, the main problem with these police services was that they were dependent on local authorities for day-to-day decision making. This led to local officials abusing this power for their own political ends. In 1896 the Policía Fiscal (Prosecuting Police) was created to serve the cities.

The first policing organization with the name "Carabiniers" was the Corps of Carabiniers, in Spanish Cuerpo de Carabineros (with similar meaning as the Italian Carabinieri), formed in 1903 to bring law and order to the conflictive Araucanía region of Southern Chile (then much larger than today's region), formerly the Gendarme Corps, which would later be merged with the Army's 5th Carabiniers Regiment and the Rural Police. The Carabinier Regiment was then a Chilean Army unit, thus the reason why the Carabiniers of today sport military ranks and insignia. In 1908 the Carabiniers' School (Escuela de Carabineros, currently located in Providencia) was created, which until 1935 trained all officers and non-commissioned sworn personnel.

Carabiniers of Chile (1927)

On April 27, 1927, President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo merged the Fiscal Police (Policía Fiscal), the Rural Police (Policia Rural), and the existing Corps of Carabiniers to form the Carabiniers of Chile, one unified, paramilitary and national security institution under the direction of the national government. The organization still carries the name given to it by Ibáñez, who became the Carabiniers' first Director General. In 1929 its official coat of arms – two white crossed carbines in a green shield – was formally adopted. The service in 1930 became one of the pioneer mobile police forces in Latin America. By 1933 the Investigations Police of Chile was created in the basis of the investigations service. The roots of today's NCO School began in 1934 when in Santiago's Macul Commune, the service's mounted command began training NCOs and enlisted personnel independently. In 1939 the service received its own staff college, the Police Sciences Academy, and the mounted training squadron begame the present day NCO School in 1951.

The Air Operations Prefecture, the air arm of the service, was raised in 1960.

In 1962 it became the first Chilean uniformed service to include women in its ranks. The next year, the Children and Fatherland Foundation was formed as its social responsibility arm for troubled kids and preteens.

In 1973, the Carabiniers, headed by General Cesar Mendoza Duran, later appointed Director General, joined the Chilean coup of 1973 under the lead of the Army, Navy and Air Forces leaders, that overthrew President Salvador Allende. As such, the Carabiniers' commander was a formal member of the Military Government Junta (1973–1990), as well as members of the institution taking on administrative roles, such as being in charge of the Ministry of Education.

In 1974, formal command of the service was handed over to the Chilean Ministry of National Defense, and it was integrated into the ranks and traditions of the Chilean Armed Forces as a result. Until 2011, this was the case for the service, from that year onward it is a part of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.

The Basic Training Center, which trains future personnel of the other ranks, was created in 1979.


The Carabiniers' mission is to maintain or re-establish order and security in Chilean society through civic education, service to the community, police work, and in a war situation, to act as a military force (all their members have military training). Under the current (and controversial) Chilean Constitution the Carabiniers are integrated directly into the Armed Forces in a state of emergency to better guarantee the public order.

They also have a special armed police unit called the Special Police Operations Group (GOPE or Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales). There is also an Elite Corps in charge of security in La Moneda Palace and for the President – the Presidential Guard Group whose cavalry troop is one of two horse guards units of the Republic, the latter having been raised recently and also serves as the youngest, and also sports a foot guards infantry battalion. The Central National Band of the Carabineros, the premiere representative marching band of the service (created in 1929), occasionally performs on state occasions and during the Guard Mounting at the La Moneda Palace and Citizenry Square on selected days with the Guard Group.

They travel in heavily armored trucks from which they can spray pressured water to control mobs.

The Carabineros have recently replaced their Ruger P90 with the 9mm SIG P220. While most police forces issue the Chilean FAMAE revolver or the Brazilian Taurus Model 82, increasing numbers have adopted the Austrian Glock 17.

2019 protests

The role of Carabineros during the 2019 Chilean protests has been the subject of several reports by human rights organizations due to their alleged use of deliberate excessive force. These organizations have also received reports of torture, sexual abuse and rape.[2]

The National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) reported a total of 232 eye injuries by the 25th of November, 163 as a result of rubber bullets.[3] Regarding the use of rubber bullets Sergio Micco, the director of the INDH, said that the organization had observed over 161 demonstrations in which they were used despite it being against protocol because of a lack of physical danger to carabineros.[4]


The emergency number of the police is 133 which is connected to the Central Communications (CENCO), closest to the nearest location of a police station.

This number will provide medical help, police or fire support. If one would need to communicate directly with any of these services this list of numbers will be useful:

  • 132: This number connects directly to the Fire Station closest to the residence concerned, under the Chilean National Firefighters Council's constituent fire services
  • 131: This number connects to the Emergency Medical Care Service or SAMU
  • 134: This number connects to the Investigations Police of Chile or PDI
  • 137: This number connects to the Maritime Rescue Unit (Navy)

Aircraft inventory

Carabineros de Chile operate 35 aircraft in support of their operations, including 10 helicopters. Recently, 5 Augusta A109E[5] have been acquired.

Aircraft in Service

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[6]
Agusta A109  Italy Utility transport Agusta A109E 5
AgustaWestland AW139  Italy Utility transport Agusta AW139 1
Bell 206  United States Utility helicopter 206B 1
Cessna 182  United States Utility 182Q 5
Cessna 206  United States Utility 3
Cessna 208  United States Utility 1
Cessna 210  United States Utility transport 5
Cessna Citation  United States VIP transport 550 Citation II 2
Eurocopter Bo 105  Germany Utility helicopter Bo 105C
Bo 105LSA-3
Eurocopter EC 135  Germany Utility helicopter EC 135 T1 1
MBB/Kawasaki BK 117  Germany
Utility helicopter BK117B-1 2
Piper PA-31 Navajo  United States Utility transport PA-31
PA-31T Cheyenne


Patrol cars

Dodge Charger Police 2017 United StatesHighway patrol
Dodge Durango 2017  United States Patrol and Traffic enforcement
Chevrolet Cruze LS United StatesPatrol and Traffic enforcement
Mercedes Benz Sprinter GermanyCity Patrol
Nissan Terrano JapanPatrol and Traffic enforcement


BMW R-1200 RT  Germany Highway Patrol and Traffic enforcement
BMW F-700 GS
Honda XR250 Tornado  Japan

Special operations (Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales)

Sherpa Light FranceArmored vehicle
Mahindra Marksman IndiaLight Armored vehicle
Chevrolet Tahoe United StatesTransport Unit / First response
Chevrolet Suburban
Hyundai H1 South Korea

Chile Border Patrol

Vehicle Origin Function
Toyota Tundra  United States Border Patrol
Ram Pickup 3500  United States North Chilean Desert Border Patrol
Ram Pickup 1500  United States Border Patrol
Dodge Durango 4x4  United States Border Patrol
Can-Am Commander  Canada North Chilean Desert Border Patrol
Mercedes-Benz Zetros  Germany North Chilean Desert Border Patrol

Ranks of the Chilean Carabiniers

Enlisted personnel and non-commissioned officers

Chilean and foreign NCOs enter the service through enrollment at the Carabiniers Formation School and receive further training as corporals at the Carabiniers NCO Academy, both located in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, and some of them have later training at the various service schools of the Carabiniers specializing in frontier defense, horsemanship and K-9 training and handling skills.

  • Carabinero alumno (Student Carabinier)
  • Carabinero (Carabinier)
  • Cabo Segundo (Second Corporal)
  • Cabo Primero (First Corporal)
  • Sargento Segundo (Sergeant)
  • Sargento Primero (First Sergeant)
  • Suboficial (Sub-officer)
  • Suboficial Mayor (Subofficer Major)
RanksWarrant OfficersNCOsEnlisted
Carabinero shirt
Operational shirt
RanksSuboficial MayorSuboficialSargento 1º Sargento 2°Cabo 1ºCabo 2°Carabinero

Commissioned officers

Officers of the Carabiners, native born or foreign officers having scholarships, start out as officer aspirants at the Carabinier Officers School "Pres. Gen. Carlos Ibanez del Campo" in Santiago, and after graduating become sublieutenants either in Chile or in their home countries. Later training is provided by the Police Sciences Academy also in Santiago, and in the aforementioned specialty schools of the force.

RanksGeneral officersSenior officersHead officersJunior officers
Uniform coat
General officers' cape
Operational shirt
RanksGeneral DirectorGeneral InspectorGeneralCoronelTeniente CoronelMayorCapitánTenienteSubteniente

General Directors

See also


  1. "Día del Carabinero". Icarito. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. "18 Killed As Thousands of Protestors Take to the Streets in Chile. Here's What to Know". Time. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  3. "Información constatada por el INDH al 25-11-2019 a las 13.00 hrs".
  4. Fernando Espina (2019-11-28). "INDH se querella por homicidio frustrado contra Carabineros en favor de trabajadora que habría perdido visión de ambos ojos". INDH (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  5. "Entrega de 2 helicopteros en presencia de la Presidenta". Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  6. "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
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