The Regional Security Office (RSO) is responsible for the safety and security of American personnel working at U.S. Embassies and Consulates world-wide. The RSO represents the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), which is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. Each office is managed by a DS Special Agent (Regional Security Officer), who serves as the U.S. Ambassador’s senior U.S. law enforcement and security advisor.
The Regional Security Office carries out the following functions:
- Protects the U.S. embassy or consulate, its personnel, and information.
- Serves as the U.S. embassy’s law enforcement liaison to the host nation.
- Arranges training for foreign police and security officers to combat terrorism.
- Advises Americans about safety and security abroad and assists U.S.-related schools and organizations in obtaining security grants.
- Shares security information with the U.S. private sector through the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).
The Regional Security Office (RSO) for the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica is staffed by Agents from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), and includes the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), DS’s most high profile branch. DS personnel work together as a team to ensure that the State Department can carry out its foreign policy missions safely and securely. Diplomatic Security has a broad scope of global responsibilities, with protection of people, information, and property as its top priority.
Overseas, DS develops and implements effective security programs to safeguard all personnel who work in every U.S. diplomatic mission around the world and to protect classified information at these locations. The DS presence overseas is led at each diplomatic mission by a DSS Special Agent who is referred to as a Regional Security Officer (RSO). In the United States, DS protects the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and foreign diplomats who visit the United States. DS has protected Yaser Arafat, the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles. The agency develops and implements security programs to protect the more than 100 domestic State Department facilities as well as the residence of the Secretary of State.
At the U.S. Embassy in San Jose, the Agents assigned here work with Costa Rican law enforcement and U.S. federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies on criminal investigations ranging from large multi-million dollar frauds to fugitive investigations on individuals wanted in the United States. To this end, the Regional Security Office in San Jose has participated in the capture of several dozen fugitives in past years. Some of these fugitives were wanted for murder, were sexual predators, or had committed huge frauds where tens of millions of dollars have been stolen from citizens and residents of the United States. One of the fugitives was on the widely-watched television program “America’s Most Wanted” (wanted for murder) and another fugitive captured here was on both Oprah Winfrey’s web page for sexual predators and the FBI sexual predator page. Oprah personally gave the person who called the Embassy to alert us a check for $100,000 for his help on the capture of the sexual predator.
The RSO works with the Department of Justice to assist in the extraditions of fugitives wanted in the United States. The RSO also works with the Costa Rican Attorney General to bring back fugitives wanted in Costa Rica, both Costa Ricans who have fled to the U.S. and including U.S. citizens who have committed crimes here.
The RSO works daily with the Judicial Police (OIJ), Interpol, and Costa Rican Immigration on cases requiring U.S. investigative resources and expertise. The relationship between the RSO and these offices is excellent and joint investigations with Costa Rican law enforcement partners have produced important law enforcement successes for both nations.