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Mexico Fails To Meet Deadline To Vet Federal And Local Police

Mexican federal police in Guerrero State capture the alleged leader of a kidnapping ring. Mexico now says the deadline to vet police has passed and will likely never be met. (Lorne Matalon)

Our Fronteras Desk reporter at Marfa Public Radio, Lorne Matalon reports. 

Mexico's top law enforcement official, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, says his country will never fully purge its local and federal police of corrupt officers.

Osorio Chong, who has harshly criticized the U.S.-backed war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderón, said publicly that that Mexico is far from completing a purge of one of the most corrupt institutions in Mexico.

In a report by Tracey Wilkinson of the Los Angeles Times, she reports that the process will not be completed by the deadline of Oct. 29.

“We will never reach 100 percent; it’s impossible,” Osorio Chong said at a forum on public safety. He conceded that the system used to rid the ranks of corrupt officers is flawed and would be changed.

"Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers" by Anabel Hernandez, recently released in English in the United States, documents the alleged nexus between federal and local police and the previous administrations of Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox.

The book documents a culture of police impunity protected by Mexico's federal government for decades. Hernandez speaks from experience. Her father was kidnapped and killed; police demanded bribes to investigate the case.

Osorio Chong's admission that purging corrupt officers is "impossible" renews the focus on U.S. backed efforts to help Mexico reform its police. The U.S. is funding anti-crime efforts in Mexico through the Mérida Initiative, with a portion that critics charge is to little devoted to police and judicial reform.