The 3,000 officers employed in Guadalajara’s Secretaria de Seguridad Ciudadana makes it the largest police force in Jalisco, surpassing even the 2,200-strong state police.
“This is a program that we will implement after the Pan American Games. It will be strong and final, since it has never been done before,” said Police Chief Servando Sepulveda.
The strengthening of public security institutions is one of the main priorities of the national strategy to combat organized crime. The overhaul of the Guadalajara municpality’s police force will also be accompanied by a campaign of “zero tolerance to corruption.”
“We cannot be blind to what might happen or already is happening,” said Sepulveda. “The worst thing we could do is remain as we are. We have many great personnel that we want to work with and with whom we will continue working, but there are also many who will have to leave the force.”
Research carried out by the Internal Affairs Department will be used to help decide which officers are incapable of ensuring public safety and should therefore be dismissed. With 300 cases currently under investigation, it is estimated that 50 are of sufficient gravity to warrant the removal of the officers involved.
The decisions will also be based upon interviews with senior officers, citizen complaints, a study of police records, the preparation and training of police and the amount of sick leave taken by each officer.
To implement the overhaul and pay for any legal challenges that may ensure, Guadalajara city hall has been granted 24 million pesos by the federal government. Eventually, new staff from the local police academy will be drafted in to replace the dismissed officers.
Until now only six percent of Guadalajara’s police officers from the Public Security Agency have been evaluated with tests of confidence. National Public Security System law requires every law enforcement officer in the country to be examined before the deadline of January 2, 2013.
The examinations include polygraph tests, toxicological, psychological, medical and socioeconomic evaluations.
Guadalajara Major Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval Diaz has instructed the Department of Public Safety to negotiate with the State Board of Public Safety and the federal government to authorize the participation of private bodies to strengthen the implementation of tests in Jalisco, and in particular in Guadalajara.