Photo: Mexico's Gendarmerie
President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday formally commissioned the Gendarmerie, a new division of the Mexican Federal Police.
The force’s more than 5,000 members are “prepared to protect and serve Mexicans in regions where there is greater institutional weakness,” he said during the ceremony.
The Gendarmerie, whose 390 senior officers received advanced training in France and Colombia, is to operate under civilian command and will focus on providing security, especially in rural and marginalized areas.
Peña Nieto attended the launch of the Gendarmerie after chairing a session of the National Public Safety Council where he said that homicides were down 27.8 percent in the first seven months of the year.
The 2006-2012 administration of his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, saw some 100,000 murders, many of them attributed to a brutal drug war pitting rival cartels against each other and the security forces.
Calderon gave Mexico’s armed forces the leading role in combating the drug trade and the military remains heavily involved in the struggle.
The creation of the Gendarmerie is one of Peña Nieto’s highest-profile initiatives in the realm of public safety.