Monterrey, NL - All of the roughly 600 members of the Monterrey police department were confined to their stations without prior notification and will have to undergo screening to determine whether they have ties to drug traffickers, the mayor of Mexico’s industrial capital said Monday.
The army and Nuevo Leon state police will be in charge of law enforcement in the city during the two-day lockdown.
The army determined that the Monterrey police department has been infiltrated by organized crime groups and many of its officers work for Los Zetas, a band of special forces deserters turned outlaws.
Several municipal cops have been arrested in recent months for carrying out kidnappings on behalf of drug cartels.
“Each one of the officers on the force will be subjected to five evaluations,” Monterrey Mayor Fernando Larrazabal said.
“We understand that this will be a bitter time, especially for the good police officers, who are the majority,” the mayor said.
“We cannot let the bad behavior of some officers, who in recent days have stained the name of the force, stain the work of all police,” Larrazabal said.
The department’s 14 command-level officers and approximately 600 patrolmen will have to undergo five tests, including psychometric exams, antidoping tests and polygraph examinations, the mayor said.
Officials expect to have the results of the screenings on Friday, when they will determine who remains on the force and who gets sacked.
Officers who refuse to take the tests will be summarily discharged from the force, Larrazabal said.
The Monterrey police department is about 100 officers under its full operating strength.
A total of 180 police officers have been fired by the city’s current administration for “loss of confidence.”