BOPE, short for Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, is an elite unit of the Military Police of Rio, that was created in 1978. BOPE is called upon to step in when there is a very serious problem and the police are simply not sufficient. One of their principal missions is dealing with the rampant crime and drug trafficking of the favelas. Because of the dangerous nature of their job, members of the “elite squad,” as the team is often called, use very powerful weaponry. BOPE even uses a special bullet-proof car, called a caveirão, a necessary measure of defense when in the favelas.
While the polícia militar (military police) of Rio is extremely corrupt, BOPE is deemed to be the only police department in all of Brazil that is not corrupt, perhaps a result of the intense training tests where members are both mentally and physically challenged.
Here is a video of the squad in action:
There was even a movie, followed by a sequel, made about BOPE. They both provide a good look at the elite squad.
The first one was called “Tropa de Elite” (Elite squad):
And the follow-up was called, “The Enemy Within:”