Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, mostly known by its acronym BOPE, is a special forces unit of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro State, 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.
The origins of BOPE date back to January 19, 1978, when the Special Operations Company Nucleus was formed and placed under the command of the chief of staff for the state’s Military Police.
In 1982 the company was moved to the Riot Control Battalion (Batalhão de Polícia de Choque), thus becoming part of that unit changing its name to Special Operations Company (Companhia de Operações Especiais or COE). In 1984 the name was changed once again to NuCOE and was, again, under the command of the chief of staff.
In 1988, the Special Operations Independent Company (Companhia Independente de Operações Especiais or CIOE) was created, with its jurisdiction spanning all over the State of Rio de Janeiro. It became a battalion on March 1, 1991.
Role of Bope
- Providing additional security at special events.
- Break barricades constructed by drug dealers
- Shoot to kill at criminals threatening human life
- Exterminate drug ghettos as well as its gangs
- Extract police officers or civilians injured in confrontations
- Rescuing officers and citizens captured 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 combat
- Providing superior assault firepower in certain situations
- Armed patrols
- Special missions in swamps or mountainous terrains such as reconnaissance, planning and infiltration
- Engage in combat serving state sovereignty
- Crime suppression.
- Resolving high-risk situations with a minimum loss of life, injury, or property damage.
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 censured by the Military Police. 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, Tropa de Elite 2.