Mexico Seeks to Unify Police to Fight Drugs
The family of Edelmiro Cavazos, mayor of Santiago, mourning his death. Several local police officers were accused in his killing.
SANTIAGO, Mexico — The Mexican government is preparing a plan to radically alter the nation’s police forces, hoping not only to instill a trust the public has never had in them but also to choke off a critical source of manpower for organized crime.
The proposal, which the president’s aides say is expected in the coming weeks, would all but do away with the nation’s 2,200 local police departments and place their duties under a “unified command.” It comes at a critical moment for President Felipe Calderón, who faces mounting pressure from the United States and within Mexico to demonstrate progress in defeating the drug cartels.
Eleven mayors have been killed this year. Just this week, the mayor of Tancitaro was found dead from a blow with a stone . The previous mayor and several town officials had already resigned after threats from drug traffickers and complaints that the police were ineffective; the state and federal authorities took over enforcement because the 60-member police force was believed to be enmeshed in crime.
Several mayors here in northeastern Mexico now spend the night in the United States out of concern that the local police cannot protect them, state officials confirmed.