About 3,200 Mexican federal police have been fired for failing to do their work or being linked to corruption, Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said Monday.
Of those, 465 have been charged with crimes.
Federal police commissioner Facundo Rosas announces the firings at a news conference in Mexico City.
In addition, Rosas said at a news conference, another 1,020 officers face disciplinary proceedings for failing confidence exams.
The probe started in mid-May, said Marco Tulio Lopez of the federal police internal affairs department.
"Investigations of our department began many months ago and this is the result," federal police spokesman Ramon Salinas told CNN.
Among the officers who were fired, Rosas said, were officials in Ciudad Juarez who were publicly accused by fellow officers of corruption several weeks ago. In that incident, two groups of officers shoved and fought each other outside police headquarters.
The housecleaning is part of President Felipe Calderon's crackdown on drug cartels, which includes overhauling the 34,500-strong federal police force. An additional 465 federal officers have been charged with breaking the law, and 1,020 others face disciplinary action after failing screening tests, officials said.
Rosas said the 1,020 officers who failed vetting fell short for a variety of reasons, including suspected criminal links and medical problems. He said failure rates were within "operable limits."
Among the 465 arrested officers were four commanders fired Aug. 7 in Ciudad Juarez after 250 subordinates publicly accused them of corruption.
The new police standards, which took effect in May, are aimed at cleaning up Mexico's graft-plagued police force through lie detector tests, financial disclosure statements and drug testing. The government has sought to improve the caliber of federal officers by boosting wages and requiring that recruits have college degrees.
Eliminating police corruption is a pillar of Calderon's nearly 4-year-old war against drug cartels. Crooked officers tip off drug lords and often moonlight as hit men.
The problem is considered worst at the local level, where fear or low wages prompt many officers to help drug gangs. State and local forces account for the vast majority of Mexico's 427,000 police officers.
The cleanup is to take place nationwide and began with the federal police, the law enforcement agency mainly responsible for fighting the powerful cartels.
The fired officers account for about 9 percent of the federal police force, which has about 34,500 officials.
None of the dismissed officers will be allowed to be rehired on police forces at the local, state or federal levels, Rosas said.
The United States has backed the reform push by helping evaluate officers and supplying trainers for a state-of-the-art police academy in the city of San Luis Potosi.
Calderon has rapidly expanded the federal police force, hiring about 10,000 officers during the last two years.
Experts applaud the cleanup as long overdue. Mexicans so mistrust police that they often refuse to report crimes.
But firing suspect or substandard officers also carries risks that they might jump to another department or join the traffickers. Rosas said a new computerized public safety database, called Platform Mexico, would make it easier to monitor former officers.
Sources: CNN, Los Angeles Times