09/11/12 – As part of a concerted effort to strengthen police capabilities under the New State Police Force (Nueva Policía Estatal), in mid-August, 115 Tamaulipas police agents were sent to train for a month at a military camp in Temamatla, a town located in the state of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex). Members of the Secretary of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, SEDENA) are in charge of training the police agents who, after completing their month, will transfer to the Instituto de Reclutamiento y Formación Policial in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, for further work. All of the trainees–23 of whom are women–are current state or municipal police force agents, and all have previously passed their required public trust tests (pruebas de control de confianza). Reports have not yet indicated whether the military-led training has finished.
According to El Universal, the Secretary of Public Security (Secretario de Seguridad Pública) of Tamaulipas, Rafael Lomelí Martínez, said that the training seeks to professionalize the New State Police. Such efforts are in line with the goals of Tamaulipas Governor Egidio Torre Cantú, who promised in August that his state would improve the police force to be more professional and have a stricter adherence to the law and to human rights. As well, the Tamaulipas training initiatives are part of the nationwide efforts to revamp and strengthen state and federal police forces, which became a priority after Constitutional reforms were passed in 2008 to reform Mexico’s judicial system.
Nevertheless, the ongoing police training with soldiers is connected to the larger debate ensuing in Tamaulipas regarding the use of the military in public security efforts when the Peña Nieto administration takes over in December of this year. Juan Manuel Rodríguez Nieto, a local deputy from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD), recently pointed to the fact that a growing number of police agents in Tamaulipas have been trained and are prepared to replace the troops in the streets. “My idea,” he said, “is that the Army returns to the place where it should be.” According to Imagen Radio, the Secretary General of the Interior (Secretario General de Gobierno) confirmed that 1,500 police agents in Tamaulipas have already passed their public trust tests, which would include the 115 agents above currently in military training.
On the other hand, however, is the argument posited by Tamaulipas Senator Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), who called for the military to remain in its role for another year given the high levels of violence in the state and the need for the military to lead public security efforts. Tamaulipas currently ranks as the eighth most violent state in Mexico when looking at drug-related killings, or ejecuciones. According to Reforma, the state registered 240 ejecuciones as of September 7, which is a significant decrease from this point last year when Tamaulipas had 588, and from 2010 when it had 566. Despite such marked drops in the number of drug-related homicides, Cabeza de Vaca believes the military should not be removed yet. “To this point, the majority of municipal and state police do not have the confidence nor the training that the new state police demands in order to return to the streets and fulfill their duties,” he argued. Regardless, an agreement was signed back in May between Governor Torre Cantú and Secretary of the Interior Alejandro Poiré that extended the government’s program, Tamaulipas Seguro, to allow the troops to stay in the state until the end of President Calderón’s term, which expires December 1, 2012.
“Ejecutómetro 2012.” Grupo Reforma. Accessed September 11, 2012.