Mexico City: Gen. López on Police Sociopathology


“Create the fatherland: Kill a Zeta”: Death-squad beheading video appeared briefly on YouTube before being removed for violating terms of service. Inscriptions on victim’s body reminiscent of Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony.” Risk management takeaway: Methods of the Iraqi insurgency are now in use within easy driving distance — in shifts — of downtown Hollywood. By people selling themselves as “the good guys.”
See also Mexico: “The Blue Cartel”

Writing in El Economista (Mexico), Rubén Torres interviews a senior public safety official from Mexico on how to recover the role of the “citizen-policeman.”

What with Tropa de Elite (“Elite Squad,” I think they want to call it) about to hit American movie screens, I am finding it interesting to clip news about similar problems throughout the region. Brazil is not entirely unique — nor are its problems in this area completely different in kind than the problem Colombia has with “parapolitics,” I think.

See also, for example,

La descomposición del “tejido social’’ en la ciudad de México y que arrastra a todo el país, no puede ser reconstruido con sólo implantar un “chip’’ a nuevos policías, sino se debe “tejer el binomio ciudadano-policía’’ que regenere células del núcleo familiar, colonia, barrio, capitales, municipios y estados, sólo así se “expulsarán’’ malhechores, delincuentes y narcotraficantes del entorno.

The unraveling of the social fabric in Mexico City, which is spreading throughout Mexico, cannot be halted simply by implanting a chip in new police officers. What needs to be done is to knit back together the policeman and the citizen, regenerating relations to family, block, neighborhood, city, county and state. Only in this way can misconduct, criminality and narcotrafficking be expunged from the police forces.

En búsqueda de ese anhelo social, los programas para formar y recuperar las corporaciones policiacas no chocan, al contrario, se encuentran y fortalecen.

In the search for such social coherence, programs designed to train and recover the police forces are not in conflict. On the contrary, they complement and reinforce one another.

En la capital existe un plan de “Excelencia’’ y a nivel nacional el presidente Felipe Calderón impulsa un “Plan Maestro’’, resaltó el general retirado Miguel Alfonso López Conde.

The national capital has a “best practices” [“exellence”-based] plan, while at the national level President Calderón is pushing a “master plan,” says retired Gen. López Conde.

¡A mí denme materia humana, con dignidad, aptitud y actitud, edad indispensable, educación secundaria o preparatoria y entrego policías que no olvidarán su función de servir a la sociedad! enfatizó el general Diplomado del Estado Mayor retirado.

“Give me human capital with dignity, competence and attitude, with the needed maturity and a college or college-preparatory education, and I will give you police who will not forget that their role is to serve society!” the retired general staff officer enthused.

Entrevistado por El Economista en las instalaciones del Instituto Técnico de Formación Policial (ITFP) de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal (SSP) del que está a cargo desde el 1 de julio del 2002, tras 47 años de servicio en la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena), rechazó que sea con un “chip’’ como se cambie al policía.

Interviewed by El Economista at the [local police academy] [the ITFP], the federal district public safety secretary, in that post since July 1, 2002, after 47 years of service in the national defense establishment, rejects the notion that police will change because of a microchip.

Brazilian cities are introducing GPS in squad cars to help track police activity. On the other hand, electronic systems generally come with an on-off switch. In the case of last year’s PM-PCC wars here in São Paulo, the system for monitoring and recording police radio communications was simply switched off — or suffered an outage, depending on who you ask about what happened. See

“Esto va mas allá, aquí los formamos, no porque sean desecho o no encuentren trabajo, ellos, los que llegan, tienen que entender que ésta es una profesión, no un oficio y se deben a la sociedad, a quien tienen que proteger su vida, bienes, familia y entorno social, por eso se les prepara y paga’’.

“This goes well beyond, here we train police who are not riff-raff or people who could find no other work, but qualified candidates who must understand that this is their profession, not just a job, and that they owe a debt to society, whose lives, families, property and social existence they are to defend, and that this is what they are trained and paid to do.”

Una lección que no olvidarán.

An unforgettable lesson.

– ¿Por qué muchos olvidan eso o caen en las garras de malechores o delincuentes?

“Why do so many forget this, or fall into the clutches of criminals and evil-doers?

– No son todos. Como en cada profesión o etapa de la vida ocurre, pero siempre se requieren dos para que exista corrupción. Uno, el que ofrece, y otro, que recibe. Así se da la confabulación. Pero no hay que olvidar que hay vivos que aprovechan la necesidad humana, esos son los más malos.

“Not all do. As in any profession or walk of life, it does happen, but it always takes two for corruption to take place. One to offer and one to accept. That is where the conspiracy starts. But we must not forget that there are people who exploit human misery, these people are the worst.”

El general, que fue invitado a formar parte de la estructura de la SSP por el actual jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon — antes de ser destituido de la SSP por el expresidente Vicente Fox por los hechos de Tláhuac –, no rehuye el debate y reflexión.

The general, who was invited to join the SSP by the current governor of the federal district, Ebrard [who was the public safety secretary under López Obrador] — before being fired by former President Fox over the Tláhuac incident — does not avoid debate and reflection.

On the Tláhuac incident referred to:

En noviembre 23, 2004, habitantes de una de las colonias del pueblo de San Juan Ixtayopan (lugar de tierra blanca o en la tierra blanca, por una loma de tepetate que actualmente es el panteon local),Peña Alta, en Tláhuac, ciudad de México, realizaron el linchamiento de tres agentes de la Policía Federal Preventiva (PFP), a los cuales tomaron por delincuentes.

On November 23, 2004, residents of a neighborhood in San Juan Ixtayopan, Tláhuac, Mexico city … lynched three agents of the Federal Preventive Police whom they took to be criminals.

The three officers, who were reportedly (I am cribbing this from Wikipedia, so you might want to dig into other sources, but this seems to be the gist of it) under investigation by internal affairs, were assigned to combating the narcomenudeo — the retail trade in Bolivian marching powder — in the mostly vacant and undeveloped area.

The Secretary of Public Safety at the time, Mr. Ebrard, has now been elected governor of the federal district.

“Sí hay malos policías, pero no por selección natural. Son humanos y pueden fallar como en todas las carreras y profesiones, no es que se les lave el cerebro, condicione o reprograme para tal o cual actuación, aquí se determina su cualidad por sus condiciones, prepara, adiestra, entrena y salen a la calle a servir con dignidad y orgullo’’.

“There are bad police, but this is not a matter of natural selection. They are human beings and as such can fail, as in any career or profession. The thing is not brainwash, condition or reprogram them to behave in this or that manner. Here their quality is determined by their conditions, their preparation, their skill, their training, and they hit the streets to serve with dignity and pride.”

– ¿Se dice que del aula a la calle hay mucha diferencia?.

“Would you say there is much difference between the classroom and the street?”

– Puede ser. Aquí se les instruye con un Código de Ética que expone el principio: firmeza de cumplir el deber; legalidad que obliga a realizar todas las acciones bajo el marco de la ley; la principal función como policías, es precisamente hacer que se respeten las leyes.

“There can be. Here they learn a code of ethics that promotes the principles of duty; legality, which obliges all their actions to be compliant with the law; their principal role as police is precisely to make sure the laws are respected.”

Respeto a sí mismo: por el simple hecho de existir un ser humano, una persona; un ciudadano posee un enorme valor y es obligación de cada uno el mantenerlo y mejorarlo día a día.

Self-respect: by the simple fact that this is a human being, a person; a citizen has enormous value and it is the duty of each and every one of us to maintain and increase that value, day by day.

Lealtad: somos leales a lo que creemos: la familia, la sociedad, nuestra institución policial. La lealtad nos obliga a cumplir estrictamente sus leyes y normas; no hacerlo significa traicionar aquello a lo que amamos y en lo que creemos, es traicionarnos a nosotros mismos y a los que creen en nosotros’’, así dice la ética, refuta.

“Loyalty: We are loyal to what we believe in: family, society, our police institution. Loyalty obliges use to comply strictly with its laws and norms; not doing so is to betray that which we love and in which we believe, it is to betray ourselves and those who believe in us,” that is what ethics demands, he replies.

Todo para ser mejores.

Everything to make police better

El Instituto que se encuentra ubicado en el Camino del Desierto de los Leones, consta de 1,457 metros cuadrados, cuenta con dormitorio, explanada cívica, cancha de fútbol, piscina olímpica, biblioteca, comedor, auditorio, servicio médico, ahí vienen los alumnos de las ocho de la mañana a las 9 de la noche “es gratis, no se les cobra’’, abunda.

The Institute is located on the Desierto de los Leones road and occupies 1,457 square meters. It has a dormitory, a parade ground, a footbal pitch, and Olympic swimming pool, a library, a dining hall, an auditorium, and a medical clinic open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, “it is free, they are charged nothing,” the general adds.

Concretely, the federal district launched a program recently to crack down on the practice of bribing cops to get out of traffic tickets. I will have to follow up on that.

Desde que él está al frente del Instituto, han egresado 32 generaciones de Unidades de Protección Ciudadana (UPC) de la SSP, que en total dan un número de 12,800 elementos, aunque se contabilizan 142 generaciones egresadas, actualmente tienen una planilla de 1,593 estudiantes.

Since he has led the Institute, 32 classes have graduated — a total of 12,800 policemen …

El general López Conde, adelantó a este diario, que es mentira que haya sido desaparecida la carrera de Licenciatura Policial, como se difundió en algún medio.

The general told this newpaper that it is a lie that the licenciatura career track has been abolished, as one news organization published.

“Lo que pasa es que se hizo un impasse de tiempo, mientras se readecuaban los planes de estudio’’ que está siendo entregado a la Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) para su aprobación.

[tktktktk]

Adelantó que también se presentó a la SEP el programa académico para crear la Licenciatura en Criminalística e Investigación, que será impartida en ese Centro de la SSP capitalina, porque “vamos mejorando y vamos por más’’.

[tktktktk]

“Necesitamos policías, oficiales, mandos, inspectores para que busquen llegar a ser Superintendentes con esfuerzo, trabajo, dedicación y que logren recuperar el respecto de la ciudadanía, porque el uso de las armas es el último recurso, la palabra puede ser la solución, así lo ha dicho el jefe de la SSP, Joel Ortega’’, expuso el general.

[tktktktk]

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