Nicaragua does have a Land Force, a Navy, and an Air Force. During the Sandinista regime, military service was mandatory but conscription was ended when Violeta Chamorro became President. During her term of office, there was an army of about 13,000, a navy of about 500, and an air force of 1200. As the guerrillas demobilized and the country stabilized, the armed forces were downsized.
A police organization law, passed by the National Assembly in August of 1996, codified both civilian control of the police and the professionalization of that law enforcement agency.
Nicaragua's police organization is one of the most corrupt government organizations, second only to the Customs Administration. To do it justice, the government has been trying to curb the problem, but bribery of police officers is still rampant.
For example, if your son or daughter is under the legal driving age of 18, they can still get a driver's license. The easiest way to get one would be to know someone who works at Police headquarters and just have them get you one, a quite common practice. Or you could just take in about fifty dollars and pay someone, if you know who to talk to.
The traffic police don't use patrol cars. Instead, they stand on the side of the road wearing red berets and then step out into the road and pull you over. Since they're on foot, you will never get pulled over for speeding. Instead, you will undboutedly be pulled over for some kind of violation involving turning, yielding, or red lights. (There is NO right turn on red here!) If you get pulled over, the officer may mention that he would like to buy a cup of coffee or something. That's your cue to offer 3 to 5 dollars to him, depending on what you did. You might have to be brave and just offer it to him before he asks. If he does decide to give you a ticket, then you must give him your driver's license and it will supposedly be returned to you in court. If you piss off the cop, though, or if he just doesn't like your face then he might accidenly drop your license in a gutter.
During inter-city travel, you might be pulled over even if you haven't done anything. This is common at night and you have nothing to worry about. There are small police stations set up on major roads where roadblocks are set up and all drivers are asked for their license and registration. You don't have to worry about bribing them unless they find what they're looking for--narcotics and illegal imports.