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Guanajuato recruits 350 new cops, but there are still 650 to go

The state is struggling to reach its goal of hiring 1,000 new officers in 2019

In spite of offering a generous wage and benefits package for new recruits, the state of Guanajuato is still 650 officers away from reaching its goal of expanding the state police force by 1,000 officers, according to state Security Secretary Álvar Cabeza de Vaca.

“We have a goal of reaching 1,000 hires this year, and so far we’ve reached 350,” he told the newspaper Milenio. “The wage for a police officer is more than 16,300 pesos (US $852) per month in the state, and the state guarantees that you’ll have a lifelong career . . . Because of our professionalization committee, we have the highest standards for state police of any state in the country.”

Guanajuato hopes to expand its state police force, which currently consists of 3,200 officers, to over 4,000.

Cabeza de Vaca added that police officers in Guanajuato also receive benefits like paid vacation, annual bonuses and medical insurance.

At an event in May to inaugurate the recruitment plan, Government Secretary Luis Ernesto Ayala Torres invited residents with a “vocation of service” to sign up.

“We’re not just trying to reach a numerical goal, we’re looking for professional quality,” he said. “We’re looking for people who not only want to earn a dignified salary, but also have a clear desire to protect Guanajuato and protect their families.”

But the riskiness of the job may be keeping people from signing up. Guanajuato has become one of the most violent states in the country, recording the highest number homicides in 2018.

It’s especially dangerous for police officers. More cops are killed on the job in Guanajuato than in any other state in Mexico, with 64 in 2018, and 17 so far this year. And almost all the crimes go unpunished; only 11 people have been sentenced for killing officers in Guanajuato since 2011.

Source: Milenio (sp), AM (sp), Newsweek Español (sp), Periódico Correo (sp), Excelsior (sp)

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