Juárez mayor: Jail dirty cops for life

Rio Grande Digital

Juárez Mayor Héctor Murguía Lardizábal (Photo courtesy city of Juarez)

The mayor of Juárez wants to give life prison sentences to police officers who betray the public trust.

“Any police officer who defrauds the people — particularly in kidnapping and extorsion — must face the penalties of the law,” Mayor Hector “Teto” Murguia said Thursday in a city news release.

Relaibility tests — tests given peiodically to police officers, including drug testing, polygraph testing and psychological exams — are not the only means governments have to evaluate the honesty of police, Murguia said, adding that it also is necessary to monitor the activities of each officer to make sure they are not involved in criminal acts.

Numerous city and federal police officers have been arrested in Juárez and elsewhere in Mexico since the drug-related violence began almost four years ago. Experts say the drug cartels regularly offer police officers money — amounting to many times their police pay — for intelligence information and other services. Officers routinely are threatened with death if they don’t comply.

This week, 10 federal police officers were arrested in Juárez for allegedly extorting money from a businessman. The victim allegedly was beaten and tortured. Murguia has had a tense relationship with the federales ever since officers shot and killed one of his bodyguards on a city street corner.

Murguia acknowledged the need to strengthen the city police department, but said it is unfair to find fault with an entire police department because of the actions of a few.

“It is very sad to see people whose first duty is to protect the people being arrested by the police,” the mayor said.
He said the coordination between local, state and federal authorities — along with citizen involvment — is what has reduced crime in the border city.

He said the city’s program of providing intense law enforcement in the downtown area has shown good results, and that program will be extended next week to another area.

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