Officials in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon are trying to recruit about 8,000 police officers from different states in an effort to fill the vacancies created by fear, purges of the ranks and arrests, state Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene said.
“Today, we have, adding together the municipal and state agencies, 6,000 officers and the number we are aiming for is 14,000, meaning that we have a shortage of 8,000, so we have to work to get them as soon as possible,” Domene said.
Officials have established a recruiting process for hiring officers from outside the state, targeting Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Mexico state and Oaxaca, among others, Domene said.
The drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon, which borders the United States, has left 14 cities without police departments, the state Security Council spokesman said.
Officers quit in those cities over the past eight months due to “threats and because of fear,” Domene said.
Officials have purged a number of agencies over the past four months, “taking over entire departments and arresting many officers for having links to organized crime,” Domene said.
The state police, Federal Police and army are currently patrolling the cities that were left without police departments, the state Security Council spokesman said.
On Dec. 15, 400 members of the new state police force will graduate, staffing a law enforcement agency that will have the training and weapons necessary to deal with drug traffickers, a task that only the army has been able to carry out until now, Domene said.
The pay of the new state police force’s members will be 50 percent higher than officers were previously getting, rising from an average of 6,000 pesos ($430) a month to 12,000 pesos ($830) monthly.
More than 1,500 people have died in the wave of drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon in the past year.