Mexico to Dissolve All Local Police Forces
President promises change after students killed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2014 10:04 PM CST
Updated Nov 28, 2014 12:15 AM CST
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gestures after addressing the audience during a ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City yesterday.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Mexican President Pena Nieto has promised sweeping reforms to the country's police amid nationwide outrage over the massacre of 43 students abducted by a local police force working with gang members. "Mexico must change," he said yesterday, unveiling plans to dissolve all 1,800 of the country's local police forces—many of which are notoriously corrupt and infiltrated by gang members—and replace them with state-wide forces, the BBC reports. The president's proposal would also allow the federal government to take over town governments corrupted by cartels.

Most of Mexico's police officers belong to local forces and most of them make less than $500 a month, encouraging the corruption Pena Nieto aims to stamp out. But critics say the president is merely repacking initiatives already in progress and trying to repeat a few failed ones, and question is whether things will be any better if the police are put under unified control. "The root problem is the quality of the police, not who commands them," a public security expert tells the Wall Street Journal. "Many state forces are also a disaster." The president's plan will focus on four of the most violent states at first, including Guerrero, where the students were kidnapped and where 11 decapitated bodies were found dumped by a road yesterday, the AP reports.