Homeland Security blacked out recommendation on Border Patrol restraint

shutterstock_24590917Washington Post, 1/28/14

It’s one of the U.S. Border Patrol’s most controversial practices: shooting at migrants and suspected drug runners who throw rocks and other objects at agents. Many law enforcement experts say the best option is to take cover or move elsewhere, rather than use lethal force. A law enforcement think tank — hired last year by parent agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review the Border Patrol’s practices — recommended restraint when agents encounter rock throwers who don’t pose an imminent threat of serious injury or death.

But when the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released a report in September on the Border Patrol’s use of force, officials blacked out that call for holding back in such incidents, among other recommendations, according to an uncensored copy reviewed by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Mexico’s Federal Police Reorganized into 5 Regional Commands

Policia MexicoThe Latin American Herald Tribune, 10/31/2013

The overhaul of the Federal Police has started, with the law enforcement agency being reorganized into five regional operations commands to fight crime more effectively in Mexico, the National Security Commission said.

The federal law enforcement agency will have northwestern, northeastern, central, western and southeastern commands, National Security Commissioner Manuel Mondragon said.

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Report: Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities

crime and drugsBy Vanda Felbab-Brown, International Drug Policy Consortium, February 2013

In “Focused Deterrence, Selective Targeting, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Concepts and Practicalities,” published by the International Drug Policy Consortium in February 2013, Vanda Felbab-Brown first outlines the logic and problems of zero-tolerance and undifferentiated targeting in law enforcement policies. Second, she lays out the key theoretical concepts of the law-enforcement strategies of focused-deterrence and selective targeting and reviews some of their applications, as in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in the 1990s and urban-policing operations in Rio de Janeiro during the 2000s decade. Third, she analyses the implementation challenges that selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies have encountered, particularly outside of the United States. And finally, she discusses some key dilemmas in designing selective targeting and focused-deterrence strategies to fight crime.

Read the full report here…

Wilson Center Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, on the current security situation in Central America.

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin America Program and Mexico Institute, 1/27/12

Eric Olson

Central America has become the most violent region in the world and many countries are facing enormous challenges of crime and public insecurity due to urban violence, street gangs, and organized crime engaged in international drug trafficking.

Latin America Program and Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Eric L. Olson, spent last week in three Central American countries and provides his analysis of the security situation there, including the role of the private sector, pervasive corruption in law enforcement, and the risks and benefits of vetted units.

I have just returned from a quick trip to Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras) where I was attending a conference and held meeting with various government officials and independent experts on the issues of crime and violence in Central America.  Here are a few initial impressions from this trip.

Engaging the private sector in the public security debate:  The main reason for my trip was to participate in a roundtable discussion in Costa Rica with private sector representatives, government officials, and researchers on the issue of public security in the “Southern Triangle” of Central America – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  This is part of a several step process that will include roundtables in the “Northern Triangle” and Washington, DC.

Read the Eric Olson’s complete Central America report here.

Despite Violence – Many Mexican Police Still Paid Low Wages, Report Says

Fox News Latino, 9/25/11

They are fighting a violent drug war – but a new government report released Sunday shows many Mexican police officers still earn $350 per month or less, despite reform efforts aimed at increasing wages and decreasing corruption among the country’s police.

A report by the government’s National Public Safety System says the average wage for state police in Mexico is 9,250 pesos, which is equal to about $670 per month or about $8,000 annually.

But in the drug violence-wracked northern border state of Tamaulipas, state officers receive on average about 3,618 pesos, or $262 per month. Officers in the far-less-violent central state of Aguascalientes receive five times more than that.

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Veracruz proposes lesser charges for Twitter terrorism suspects

Los Angeles Times, 9/13/11

The state of Veracruz in Mexico wants to change its penal code to apply a lower charge against the jailed Twitter and Facebook users accused of terrorism for spreading unconfirmed rumors of an attack on local schools (link in Spanish).

A proposed change in Veracruz’s laws would permit the government to punish the two social-networking users now behind bars, but for a lesser offense of “disruption of public order,” rather than the original charges of terrorism and sabotage. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Under the government’s plan, teacher Gilberto Martinez Vera and journalist Maria de Jesus “Maruchi” Bravo would be retroactively charged with a crime that isn’t even on the books, a scenario that Internet and human rights activists in Mexico promptly denounced as legally unfeasible.

The crime envisioned under the proposed law would carry a sentence of one to four years, meaning that Martinez and Bravo could possibly be set free after posting bail, the Veracruz government said.

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