Governor Rodrigo Medina announced that he will form a unified state police force in order to tackle the surging crime problem in the state of Nuevo León. Initially, the measure would include only the 11 municipalities of the greater Monterrey metropolitan region. Unlike the proposal of the Federal Government, which would actually result in the disappearance of individual municipal forces, the Medina proposal would be one of integration and subordination of the local forces to state level command(and coordination with the 7th Military Region HQ). It would be implemented through bilateral agreements signed by the state and each municipal government. Medina said:
Given the urgency to start reducing the increase in crimes, above all those with the highest impact, and starting from the fact that the coordination between nunicipal and state police forces has been shown to be insufficient in terms of results, we have to take the first steps. … This is not the time to beat around the bush, for jealousy between jurisdictions, nor for competitive labyrinths. If we go that way, we will lose the unity that we need.
Medina said that the model for the unification would be announced within the next 30 days, and would include integration of communication systems, standardization of protocols, and unification of planning. Each police force would have to be certified before it could join the unified structure. The Unified police force is part of Medina’s “Alliance for Security” announced yesterday. It also includes filling 500 state-level police vacancies and another 500 new state police officers.
While several of the mayors of the 11 Monterrey municipalities were enthusiastic about the plan, others sounded surprised and wary. Mauricio Fernández, the controversial mayor of San Pedro Garza García, said it would be very difficult for his town to join because it already had a committed investment program and he didn’t want possible corrupt police from outside operating in his town. (Reforma 9/14)
Speaking at a meeting of the National Security Council, President Felipe Calderón said that the Government will submit during the fall congressional term a constitutional and legal reform to create 32 state-level police forces to replace the thousands of municipal police forces across Mexico. “Our primary objective is, without regard to who is governing or what party they belong to, to make Mexicans protected by an honest and professional police force, with a system of justice that is effective and transparent, and with a legal framework that strengthens the authorities against criminals,” he said. Governor Rodrigo Medina (PRI) of Nuevo León spoke in favor of the proposal: “We aren’t talking about leaving the towns without protection; we are talking about integrating all the forces in a front that will enable us to have a better [police] body to confront organized crime.”(Universal 6/7)
Some 10,000 residents of Monterrey marched for peace yesterday, dressed in white and releasing white balloons. Nuevo León governor Rodrigo Medina headed the march. While the level of violence in the metropolitan region abated, there were two highly publicized incidents during the week.
The state of Nuevo León became the new epicenter of violence after gangsters blocked major highways in and near Monterrey using hijacked vehicles. According to state Security Secretary Luis Carlos Treviño Berchelmann, the blockades were an attempt to prevent federal troop movements. One confrontation between gangs and the army on the campus of Monterrey Tec, one of Mexico’s premier universities, resulted in the deaths of two students. Nuevo León governor Rodrigo Medina sacked 81 state police officers the day after the federal Government Ministry accused police of passing tips on military movements to the gangs. The previous weekend, Acapulco captured the headlines with 32 killings, including six policemen and four decapitated victims. According to Reforma’s tally, there were 251 gang-related killings last week and 2,188 deaths year to date, 55% higher than last year’s record pace. (Universal 3/16, 3/21, 3/21, Reforma 3/19, 3/21)
Three policemen were killed and a fourth gravely wounded when a patrol car was ambushed in the Monterrey suburb of San Nicolas. This attack follows by a week attacks where grenades were thrown into the police compounds of five Monterrey suburbs; only two of the grenades exploded. The Army warns that the Gulf cartel and the Zeta paramilitary gang are battling for control of the cities and transit routes in Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, with at least 17 confrontations between the two gangs since Feb. 25. Nuevo León governor Rodrigo Medina (PRI) fired his minister of public security and brought back Luis Carlos Treviño Berchelmann, who was Justice minister in the last government. (Reforma 2/28, 3/5, 3/5, 3/6)
A BGC/Excelsior nationwide telephone poll of name recognition and popularity of leading PRI politicians showed that Mexico State governor Enrique Peña Nieto continues to stand well above other party figures in both dimensions. Only party president Beatriz Paredes comes anywhere close. The new governor of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina, takes office with very favorable ratings, but low national name recognition. The controversial governors Mario Marín and Ulises Ruiz continue to have very high negatives, though somewhat less than in the past. (Excelsior 10/5, BGC)