MEXICO CITY – The National Gendarmerie proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto will begin operating at the end of this year and will have 10,000 members, officials said.
The police force’s members are being selected, trained and certified by military commanders, Manuel Mondragon y Kalb, who has been nominated to run the National Security Commission, told senators.
The officers will be trained under “a strict military regimen” with the support of the army and navy, but they will also receive operational, police and legal, social and community development training, Mondragon said.
“The first group of gendarmes will include 10,000 officers at the end of this year, that is our goal,” Mondragon said.
The new law enforcement agency will be under Mondragon’s command if the full Senate confirms him for the post.
Mondragon’s nomination has been confirmed by the Senate oversight committees that will be responsible for the new force.
The National Gendarmerie is needed in places where “the police presence must be close, reliable and permanent,” Mondragon said.
“It will go where it is needed,” the former Mexico City police chief said.
The Federal Police, which has been involved in several corruption and abuse of authority scandals, needs to be restructured to improve discipline and fight crime more efficiently, Mondragon said.
Former President Felipe Calderon deployed thousands of soldiers across the country to fight drug cartels, which infiltrated and gained influence over officers in many state and municipal police departments.
The war on drugs launched by Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead in Mexico, the government says.
Mexican press tallies estimate that about 12,000 people died in violent incidents linked to organized crime groups in 2012. EFE