State police on patrol in Coatzacoalcos. State police on patrol in the Veracruz municipality.

Disorder in Coatzacoalcos: police untrained and unregistered

Local official questions why competent officers were fired by an unqualified chief

Commanders of the Veracruz state police have accused Coatzacoalcos municipal police of operating amid widespread corruption and irregularities.

They reproached a lack of security cameras, insufficient training and alleged ties with organized crime.

“The police are not trained, there is no official register of officers and many are merely sinecures,” said an unidentified state police officer. “And what can I say about those connected to narco-trafficking?”

In addition, there are 40 video surveillance cameras in the city, but none is in working condition.

Veracruz state police were deployed to Coatzacoalcos after the attack on the El Caballo Blanco bar that left 30 people dead on August 27.

Municipal administrator Yazmín Martínez charged that acting Police Chief Omar Berdón Arres is unqualified for the position, and hadn’t even finished secondary school.

She denounced the unnecessary firing of a number of officers, even though many were more qualified than the interim chief. She said she had requested intervention by the state government as far back as May, because the municipality had gone for months without a permanent police chief.

Federal Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo announced on Monday a pilot project in Sonora in which local officers who fail evaluation tests are replaced with marines.

Coatzacoalcos, an industrial city and port whose economy relies on the oil industry, might well qualify for the project should the pilot prove successful.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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