Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Lady Has A Badge

Praxedis is a tough little Mexican town, nestled just across the U.S. Border from Fort Hancock, Texas. It once was a quiet farming town until two rival drug gangs began battling for control of its single highway. [1] There weren't many takers when a job vacancy opened on the local police force. There weren't may officers on the force either: most had quit in fear, their numbers down to just three when Chief Valles Garcia took over.

She's a 20-year old student of Criminology, with an infant son. Marisol Valles Garcia is being hailed as "Mexico's bravest woman" for donning the police chief's hat in Juarez valley, a strip of about a dozen towns and villages where shadowy groups slaughter and mutilate police and civilians with impunity. [2] Valles Garcia landed the Praxedis gig because she offered a radically new police strategy: emphasize crime prevention and community development and let state and federal forces take on the cartels.

She intends to send out all-female patrols -- because women "tend to be more sensitive and less intimidating," she said -- backed up by two male officers at the station, along with one patrol vehicle, a rifle and a shotgun. The chief herself freely acknowledges that she doesn't know how to shoot a gun. [3] She has a "community policing" strategy : "We are simply going to talk with them, with the people, with the families, giving them confidence so they will quit being afraid, so they can leave their houses," she told CNN en Español.

Will her youth and femininity protect her? Or is she doomed to be a martyr, with her death being the rallying cry across Mexico to end the rule of the drug lords once and for all?

Where is Danny Trejo when you need him?
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