Mexico: College Student Appointed Police Chief

Marisol Valles Garcia, a young woman named police chief of a Mexican border town gripped by drug violence, is garnering attention and promising a new approach.

Mexico: College Student Appointed Police Chief

Twenty-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia (c.) listens to a question during a news conference after her swearing-in ceremony as the new police chief in the border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero as the town's secretary Andres Morales (l.) and Mayor Jose Luis Guerrero de la Pena look on, near the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Oct. 20.

Marisol Valles GarciaSome headlines are hailing her as the bravest woman in Mexico, others call her “foolhardy.”  Marisol Valles Garcia, all of 20 years old, says she’s just tired of everyone being afraid.

Valles Garcia, a criminology student, became the police chief this week of Praxedis G. Guerrero, one of the most violent municipalities in the border state of Chihuahua. She was the only person who accepted the top job in a police force whose officers have been abducted and even killed.

“Yes, there is fear,” Valles Garcia said Wednesday in an interview with CNN en Español. “It’s like all human beings. There will always be fear, but what we want to achieve in our municipality is tranquility and security.”

There’s good reason for the fear. Just this past weekend, a 59-year-old local mayor, Rito Grado Serrano, and his 37-year-old son, Rogoberto Grado Villa, were killed in a house in which they they were hiding in nearby Ciudad Juarez. Another area mayor was killed in June.

Juarez is the bloodiest city in Mexico, with a reported 2,500 people killed in drug violence this year. Praxedis G. Guerrero is located about 35 miles southeast of Ciudad Juarez. Both are in the state of Chihuahua, which borders Texas.

Nationwide, the federal government says, more than 28,000 people have lost their lives since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels after taking office in December 2006.

Valles Garcia sees a non-violent role for her 13-member force, which will be mostly female and unarmed.

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Posted by on Oct 28 2010. Filed under National Security, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Mexico: College Student Appointed Police Chief”

  1. Editor

    How did she get the job? Easy – no one else applied. The once coveted position of police chief is now one of the most feared jobs to take on due to the gang violence perpetrated by drug cartels along the border towns of Mexico. Public officials are increasingly becoming targets of the cartels, and many have fallen victim to assassination. The gangs are fighting over the town’s one highway, a lucrative drug corridor that gives them access to Texas.

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