June 19th of every year has been declared “Día de la Policía de Investigaciones de Chile” or “Day of the Investigative Police of Chile”, or Detective Day for short.
The Chilean education ministry helped establish this declaration to help Chilean students learn more about the Investigative Police’s role in society.
What does the Policía de Investigaciones do?
The Policía de Investigaciones, commonly referred to by the initials PDI, plays an integral part in maintaining the public safety in Chile.
The PDI mostly deals with crime prevention and then the subsequent investigations after a crime occurs.
A foreigner visiting Chile will be most familiar with the International Police (part of the PDI) that verify documents before you are allowed to enter the country. If you stay for a long time in Chile and need to extend or renew your visa, you’ll do paperwork with the International Police as well.
The PDI also handles the prevention and investigation of organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, cybercrime, abuse, murder, and other criminal acts.
It is interesting to note that the term “Detective” (as it is spelled in English) is used to refer to members of the PDI.
How do you tell Chilean law enforcement apart?
Don’t confuse the PDI with the police you might need in an emergency. Most emergencies and accidents are handled first by the Carabineros (call 133 on your phone) and then handed off to the PDI if necessary.
Just remember Carabineros in green, PDI in blue.
Carabineros are always in green uniforms and arrive in green and white vehicles. The PDI don’t wear uniforms but do wear a badge and maybe a blue jacket with PDI on the back. The PDI detectives often drive around in blue cars with blue flashing lights.