Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais

Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE) (Portuguese: [bataˈʎɐ̃w dʒi opeɾaˈsõjs poliˈsjajs ispeˈsjajs]; literally "Special Police Operations Battalion") or BOPE is the police tactical unit of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State (PMERJ) in Brazil. Due to the nature of crime in favelas, BOPE units have extensive experience in urban warfare as well as progression in confined and restricted environments. It also utilizes equipment deemed more powerful than traditional civilian law enforcement.

Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais
Patch & Beret Badge
Patch & Beret Badge
Common nameBOPE
MottoFaca na Caveira
Knife in the Skull / Victory Over Death
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil State RiodeJaneiro.svg
Location of the State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
Legal jurisdictionRio de Janeiro
Governing bodyMilitary Police of Rio de Janeiro State
Operational structure
Agency executive
  • Lieutenant Colonel Wilman René Gonçalves Alonso, Commander
Parent agencyMilitary Police of Rio de Janeiro State

BOPE of PMERJ is one of the best known units of its kind among Brazil's military police organizations. Military Police of Alagoas and Santa Catarina states also call their tactical units BOPE, while the military police of the Federal District, Piauí, and Rio Grande do Sul states call their forces "Special Operations Battalion(s)" ("Batalhão de Operações Especiais" or "BOE").

Significant rolesEdit

BOPE officers during a training exercise.

The BOPE Currently perform a number of roles, including:

  • Providing additional security at special events;
  • Break barricades constructed by drug dealers;
  • Shoot to kill at any criminal threatening both civilian or member life;
  • Exterminate drug trafficking criminal factions and all of its members;
  • Extract police officers or civilians injured in confrontations and combats;
  • Rescuing officers and citizens captured by criminals or endangered by gunfire;
  • Serve high-risk arrest warrants;
  • Hostage rescue;
  • Stabilizing situations involving high-risk suicidal subjects;
  • Suppress prison riots;
  • Support civil police in combats of any kind;
  • Providing superior assault firepower in certain situations;
  • Armed patrols around the favelas;
  • Special missions in swamps or mountainous terrains such as reconnaissance, planning and infiltration;
  • Engage in combat serving state sovereignty;
  • Crime suppression to minimum;
  • Resolving high-risk situations with a minimum loss of life, injury, or property damage;
  • Engage strongly armed criminal factions.

Weapons and vehiclesEdit

E-11 Urutu.
Paramount Maverick.

The force has a fleet of armoured fighting vehicles, which are known as "Pacificador" ("Peacemaker"), or "Caveirão" ("Big Skull") and one UH-1 Huey.[1] These vehicles are used in operations in the slums (favelas) where BOPE face intense conflicts with heavily armed drug dealers. BOPE also operates a wheel loader in order to remove obstacles, barricades and street blockades.[2]

BOPE soldiers are equipped with heavy armament:


BOPE Operator training with new MARPAT camouflage.

BOPE has generated notoriety due to their role in the violent drug war in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and they have been referred to as a "Death Squad" by multiple newspapers.[4][5][6] One aspect that has been pointed out specifically is their logo, which bears a knife in a skull over crossed pistols (popularly known in Brazil as "faca na caveira", Portuguese for "knife in the skull").[5][7] According to the official BOPE website, the knife in the skull symbolizes "victory over death" and the crossed pistols are the symbol of the military police.[8]

A 2005 report on extra judicial executions by the New York University School of Law indicated that BOPE was involved in the deaths of 4 teenagers under the pretext that they were drug traffickers who were resisting arrest: "BOPE officers falsified the crime scene in order to incriminate the victims. Hoping this way to make them appear to be gang members. No weapon was found on any of the victims. None of them had any previous history of criminal activity."[9]

Amnesty International declared that "the police forces in Brazil adopt violent and repressive methods. These cause violations of fundamental rights of large parts of the population on a regular basis",[10] and attributes a certain number of killed civilians to BOPE in particular. In March 2006, Amnesty International specifically condemned the use of vans with armoured plating, known as a Caveirão. It stated that deploying the vehicle aggressively, indiscriminately targeting whole communities, highlighted the ineffectiveness of excessive use of force.[11]

Similar named police units of the Brazilian police forceEdit

Due to the 2016 Summer Olympics, BOPE has received considerably more investments from the Brazilian government.

BOE or BOPE are acronyms that can refer to the following specialized military police units: BOE (Batalhão de Operações Especiais) units:

BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) units:

In popular cultureEdit

In 2006, the book Elite da Tropa was published. Written by sociologist Luiz Eduardo Soares and two BOPE officers, Major André Batista and Captain Rodrigo Pimentel, it provides a semi-fictional account of the daily routine of BOPE as well as some historical events, based on the experiences of the latter two. It describes BOPE as a "killing machine" and details an alleged aborted assassination attempt by some police officers on then-governor Leonel Brizola. The book was controversial at the time of release, and reportedly resulted in Batista being reprimanded and censored by the Military Police.[26] The book has been made into a movie, Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad), directed by José Padilha (the director of Bus 174), with a screenplay by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani. In 2010 the movie gained a sequel, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within.

Two BOPE operators make an appearance in "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege" as playable operators. These operators are Capitão (Captain) and Caveira (Skull).

OPES is a Brazilian special police unit in the online first-person shooter CrossFire. The OPES logo features a skull and a knife similar to that of the BOPE. The OPES were introduced with the release of the 2011 Brazilian release of the game.

BOPE is featured on Season 1, Episode 2 of Elite World Cops, a television show hosted by former SAS soldier and author Chris Ryan.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Campanha Contra o "Caveirão"". Justiça Global. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Bope recebe veículo para quebrar concreto e derrubar barricadas do tráfico". UOL. 12 August 2009.
  3. ^ Lasterra, Juan Pablo (2008). "La Police Militaire Brésillienne en état de Guerre" (in French). Police Pro No. 11 (September 2008).
  4. ^ "Police 'Death Squad' BOPE Called in to Calm Brazilian Slums". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Sheila Johnston (18 July 2008). "Elite Squad: the movie that shook Brazil". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Rio Cops' Skull-and-Dagger Image Has Recruits Clamoring to Join". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Símbolo - BOPE - Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais". Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  9. ^ Report on extra judicial executions of the New York University School of Law: "BOPE officers falsified the crime scene to incriminate the victims in an attempt to make them seem like members of a drug trafficking gang. No weapons were found with the victims and none of them had a history of criminal activity."
  10. ^ «They come shooting…». Amnesty International, The maintenance of order at the heart of socially excluded populations, report of 2005.
  11. ^ "Brazil: Caveirão – Rio's real "bogeyman"". Amnesty International. 13 March 2006. Archived from the original on 7 December 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2008. "The caveirão has become a powerful symbol of the failings of public security policies in Rio de Janeiro. It typifies the police's confrontational and divisive approach to Rio's public security crisis," said Marcelo Freixo of Global Justice at the launch of a campaign against the use of the Caveirão in Brazil's favelas.
  12. ^ Agência de Notícias do Acre. "Batalhão de Operações Especiais conta com um novo quartel e canil". Agência de Notícias do Acre. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Polícia Militar do Distrito Federal". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  15. ^ CAPITÃO MANO. "CAPITÃO MANO". Archived from the original on 27 January 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Seguranca Publica". Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  17. ^ Oficial do 3º BPM é homenageado em solenidade de aniversário do BOPE em Curitiba.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais". Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 January 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Polícia Militar de Roraima. Batalhão de Operações Especiais
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Polícia Militar de Roraima. PM reforça operação Fecha Quartel nesta quarta-feira
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 January 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Página oficial do BOPE - PMSC
  24. ^[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ Mario Hugo Monken (29 April 2006). "Livro sobre elite da PM do Rio causou punição, diz autor". Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 5 September 2007.

External linksEdit