Calling in the troops

Proposed measure would put soldiers on the streets

Editorial Staff
June 26, 2008

Over 3000 soldiers from the Italian army may soon join city police forces in patrolling Italian cities. ‘Mixed patrols will enhance security at night when there is the greatest need', said Defense minister Ignazio La Russa, who authored the initiative with Interior minister Roberto Maroni. The measure will be part of an amendment to the law and order bill currently before Parliament.


With the same powers as regular police officers, the soldiers would be used on request by city prefects, on renewable, six-month terms. Under city prefects, they may also be assigned to patrol the suburbs if necessary. The bill would allow cities to use soldiers not only to help city police at night, but also to keep watch over ‘sensitive monuments and areas at risk'.


The soldiers tapped for civic patrol would be those with experience in missions abroad. ‘For the armed forces this will be a sacrifice, because we are short of personnel. However, it is a task we will gladly perform and this will all be to the merit of our soldiers', La Russa affirmed. Meanwhile, government officials recently announced that armed forces will be deployed in Naples and the surrounding Campania region to guard dumpsites, an effort to support waste disposal procedures as the nation tries to resolve the trash emergency.

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