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Police Reform in Mexico

Local police forces in Mexico have the reputation of being corrupt and ineffective. Ordinary citizens often live in fear, as much from the police that is supposed to protect them as from Mexico’s violent criminal gangs. As cartels continue to move farther away from border towns to infiltrate the country, small towns all over the country are experiencing more and more brutal violence.

Jalapa, a town in Mexico’s southern state of Tabasco is located in a region controlled by the powerful Los Zetas cartel. When shoot-outs and kidnappings began to rise in 2010, the town's mayor responded by revamping his municipal police force and bringing in freelance Israeli trainers. Despite considerable danger to himself, he allowed Jarman to document this training and its aftermath.

In 2014 the case of the ‘Missing 43 Students” in Iguala, Guerrero became worldwide news. Corrupt local police and organized crime colluded in abducting and murdering 43 student protesters. The massacre became a catalyst for weeks of mass demonstrations all over Mexico against corruption and crime. The nationwide and international revulsion became so strong that it forced the Peña Nieto government to propose new initiatives aimed at overhauling local policing, stamping out corruption and establishing the rule of law. Whether this will lead to real change remains to be seen.


Janet Jarman Videography, Photography, and Interviews / Filip Lein and Janet Jarman Editors / Adam Ellick and Shayla Harris Senior Producers, The New York Times


Mexico Finds Many Corpses, but Not Lost 43 The New York Times

Mexican Leader, Facing Protests, Promises to Overhaul Policing The New York Times

Mexico president vows police reform in bid to quell massacre anger Reuters

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