Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Mexican Police Force Quits En Masse After Attack
Latin American Herald Tribune
The entire police force of a rural community in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon resigned after their headquarters was attacked with assault rifles and grenades, the town’s mayor said Tuesday.
Santos Salinas Garza made the announcement after a meeting with the 14 officers working in Los Ramones, a municipality of some 6,000 people 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Monterrey, the state capital.
Members of the Nuevo Leon highway patrol will take over the responsibilities of the local police starting Wednesday, the mayor said.
Neither he nor any of the officers received any threats prior to Monday night’s assault on the police station, Salinas said.
Assailants traveling in several SUVs pelted the station – inaugurated just three days before – and patrol cars parked outside with grenades and fire from assault rifles.
No one was injured in the attack, as the six officers on duty sheltered inside an interior room at the station during the roughly 15-minute bombardment, authorities said.
Federal police and army troops immediately launched a search for the perpetrators of the attack, which bore the hallmarks of organized crime.
Nuevo Leon, bordering Texas, has seen a surge in violence this year amid a fierce turf battle between the Gulf drug cartel and former allies Los Zetas.
Mexico has around 1,600 separate police departments, the majority of them undermanned, poorly equipped and completely lacking in training.
President Felipe Calderon recently sent a bill to Congress calling for the consolidation of Mexican state and local police into 32 forces, one for each of the 31 states and the Federal District, with the aim at improving readiness and coordination.