Jalisco’s Ministry of Security has revealed that nearly half the police force in Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, where Giovanni López died while in police custody on May 5, have not passed a mandatory test designed to evaluate their aptitude for police work.
The ministry announced that 22 of the city’s 49 officers had either failed or never been given the three-part exam which includes a drug test, background check, psychological and medical evaluation and a lie detector test, among other components.
The exams, which are required by federal law, are designed to allow authorities to assess the abilities, skills, attitudes, general and specific knowledge of a police officer in carrying out the functions of their position, as well as identifying the risk factors that could interfere with their work.
They also serve to confirm that the police have no criminal record, they do not use drugs and they have no links to organized crime.
According to statistics from the federal Ministry of Public Security, two out of every 10 police officers who take the test in Jalisco fail.
In addition, the state reports that 21 Ixtlahuacán police officers were not officially registered as such, although they were on active duty. Two officers have also tested positive in a preliminary test for drug use and are awaiting a second test to confirm the results.
Due to scrutiny after the death of López, who was allegedly beaten to death by police, the town’s police officers have been sent back to the police academy for training with an emphasis on human rights, and Jalisco’s state police have taken over public safety duties in Ixtlahuacán.
Three of the municipality’s officers have been arrested in connection with the death of López.
In February, federal authorities revealed that 26,700 out of Mexico’s 331,776 police officers had not passed the aptitude test and were therefore not legally certified, but only 392 of those who did not pass were dismissed.