If you’ve noticed the shiny new police truck with the words “Policia Municipal La Cruz de Huanacaxtle” on the sides, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. It’s for real!
A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting Commandante Luis Arnoldo Rincones Parra and Licenciado Javier Romero. Commandante Luis is responsible for municipal crime prevention and protection of the public. Licenciado Javier Romero works for the municipality as well as with the Ministerio Publico.
We talked about the presence of police in our community. I learned that the new President of Bahía de Banderas, Jaime Cuevas, has a goal of increasing public safety and security. Since his inauguration in November the number of municipal police cars has increased from 5 to 31. Not only does La Cruz have its own representation, but there’s a presence in Bucerias, Punta de Mita, Valle de Banderas and several other communities. We focused our conversation on La Cruz.
La Cruz is assigned 4 officers. Currently their names are Gallindo, Miguel, Romelo and Joaquin. None of them have titles, as they want them to operate on an equal basis. Their assignments are for a 6-month period after which they’ll rotate to another community, with 4 new officers assigned to La Cruz. As Luis explained, this is to prevent “friendships” developing between officers and townspeople.
Two officers at a time take a 24-hour shift from 6:00 AM to 6:00 AM, covering the area from El Tizate to Rancho Banderas. Luis assured me that the entire shift is spent driving, observing and responding to calls. They don’t have an office in town and when a bathroom break is needed they stop at the delegado’s office, a gas station or a restaurant.
Throughout our conversation Commandante Luis emphasized that the government is striving to change the image of an inefficient police force that fails to follow through with preventing crime and punishing criminals. Efforts are also being made to identify and eliminate “crooked” cops. Every two years each officer reports to the state office in Tepic for a test of his or her honesty and trustworthiness. Part of the test includes contact with the officer’s neighbors, friends and family to verify their integrity.
As Commandante Luis repeated several times; the most important aspect of crime prevention is communication. For that purpose the next blast will focus on a new Neighborhood Watch Program and how, where and why to report crime.
Until next time, here’s a list of important phone numbers:
Police: 329-291-0049 or 329-296-5234
Tránsito: 329-296-5229 or 329-296-5234
Protección Civil (fire and ambulance): 322-113-3255 or 322-113-3256
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