mexican border state turns to British police for training
Minutemen on Mexican border
Mexican border state turns to British police for training
Mon Apr 4, 2005 21:41

Mexican border state turns to British police for training


4:26 p.m. March 31, 2005

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico Following a decade-long string of murders and rounds of training classes from the FBI, Chihuahua state police have now turned to the British police for help, officials announced Thursday.

The British police will help train Chihuahua investigators in mediation and better probing techniques. The state's police force has been accused in the past of corruption, abuses and sloppy investigative methods.

They'll also pass on a bit of the London bobby: some Chihuahua state investigative agents will be asked to work unarmed, using their wits instead of their guns.

The state has been plagued by the unsolved slayings of hundreds of women in the northern border city of Ciudad Jaurez since 1993. Critics say police have mishandled dozens of murder cases and often tortured suspects into confessing to the killings.

Chihuahua Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez said the aim is to create "a more scientific police force whose main weapons will be their knowledge and training."

Gonzalez said investigators won't carry weapons as of next year but they will be accompanied by armed officers for protection.

In past years, the FBI has sent profilers to assist Chihuahua state investigators and offered training on methods for handling crime scenes.

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As they came and went, the Minutemen chatted in small clusters, generally talking calmly about their concerns for America's long-term economic prospects, free trade policy, overcrowding in public schools, the burden undocumented workers who lack insurance place on hospitals and local government resources, and their fears that Islamic terrorists are slipping unchecked into the United States across an insufficiently protected border. Many were sensitive to accusations that they are vigilantes, or racists.

"I'm not even mad at the immigrants, I'm mad at the (U.S. and Mexican) governments, both of them," said Tim Donnelly, a 38-year-old plastics supplier and father of five from Twin Peaks, Calif. "They've got to seal the border and get serious about it. And I want them to crack down on employers who are tax cheats. You've got big business exploiting people," he said. "I see these people as economic refugees, not as criminals."

Greg Sheehan, 43, of Altoona, Pa., said the idea that employers can't find Americans to do certain jobs is bogus. As the owner of two hotels, he said, "All my employees are native-born Americans. We do background checks."

Another participant, Yeh Ling-Ling of Oakland, a Vietnam-born woman of Chinese descent who came legally to the United States in 1980, said immigration of low-skilled workers is hurting the nation as it struggles with a trade deficit, overcrowded schools and budget woes. She is executive director of a group called the Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America.

"The U.S. is no longer what it used to be," she said. "American children are falling behind."

A 65-year-old government worker and retired Marine from Oceanside, Calif., who asked to be identified only by his first name, Len, said he is concerned that a lack of sufficient patrolling and barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border is an invitation to terrorists.

"Why are American forces defending the borders of Iraq and not the borders of the U.S.?" he asked. "There's a bigger threat to our security through the southern border in terms of a direct attack on our infrastructure than from Syria or Lebanon. It just hasn't materialized yet."



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