Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On eve of national police vetting deadline, Zacatecas will fire almost half of its 2,000 state and local officers

Guadalajara -
Tomorrow is the absolute deadline for completion of police trustworthiness evaluations at the federal, state and local levels, a process which began in January 2009 under former National Action Party president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa. That deadline was extended at least three times by Mexico's federal congress, the last on Oct. 29, 2013. Mexican senators seek another delay in police vetting.

Despite the numerous extensions, the chief prosecutor for the central Mexican state of Zacetecas announced today that nearly half of all police officers there will be dismissed Wednesday morning for failure to pass confidence controls. The greatest problem is at the county and city level, he noted.

Federal law provides for prison terms of two to eight years for municipal officials who willfully hire police officers who have not passed polygraph examinations, background checks and physical aptitude tests. "This will present huge problems for mayors and county executives," Zacetecas state's attorney Arturo Nahle García noted.

Corruption of local police is a chronic problem in Mexico's domestic security scenario. Guerrero prosecutor: Iguala student protesters were killed by cartel executioners, aided by corrupt police.

In Guadalupe County, Zacetecas, 70 of 120 uniformed have already been dismissed and their weapons seized. The area is a seedbed of narco violence, where the Gulf Cartel has launched frequent direct assaults on federal troops over the past year.

Zacetecas, considered by the U.S State Dept. as one of Mexico's most dangerous jurisdictions, has 58 counties and a population of over 1.5 million. In remote, thinly populated Plateado de Joaquín Amaro County, a single approved uniformed officer provides security for more than 1,600 residents.

Oct. 20, 2014 - Ten days before deadline for nationwide police vetting, federals seize departments in Guerrero, Edomex
Sept. 4, 2014 - Zacatecas violence continues, security forces targeted
Sept. 1, 2013 - Narco attacks on security forces continue in Zacatecas
July 11, 2013 - Mexican army kills 13 sicarios in Zacatecas shootout

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