Case #1390.0

Mano Dura: Mobilizing the National Guard to Battle Crime in Puerto Rico

Publication Date: January 02, 1997
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Chaos and disorder in the public housing system of San Juan, Puerto Rico (second largest in the US) prompt the newly-elected governor Pedro Rosello to consider an unprecedented new approach: using the island's national guard troops to patrol the projects. The Guard would replace police who had become so frightened or corrupted by the dominance of drug gangs in public housing that they seldom ventured into the apartment complexes at all. The National Guard, moreover, was a popular force on the island. At the same time, Rosello knew that there were risks associated with calling out the Guard. Many in its ranks were young and inexperienced. Sustaining the commitment over time would be difficult and expensive. The kind of tactics thought necessary to regain control of the projects might offend civil libertarians. The new governor, urged on by the superintendent of police, had to decide whether and how to deploy the Guard.

Learning Objective:
The case can be used both in a discussion of leadership approaches and in a discussion of policing, public housing and related social problems.

Other Details

Case Author:
Harvey Simon
Faculty Lead:
Martin Linsky
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Puerto Rico