Friday, September 25, 2009

Disappearing Police

Genaro García Luna suggested yesterday that municipal police departments be merged into a centrally controlled federal body. There's a surface appeal to this idea: local police bodies are cesspools of corruption, while the Federal Police are generally thought to be more honest (though by no means is corruption absent at the federal level). At the same time, local police aren't inherently corrupt; they just have insufficient controls, low salaries, very little esprit de corps, and poor morale. Remove those problems, and police corruption will become less of an issue, regardless of whether the department's political bosses work in city hall or in Mexico City. Conversely, a police merger that fails to address these issues, and neglects to go after the already existing bad apples in a systematic way, risks corrupting the relatively clean Federal Police.

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