Police in Alvarado, Mexico have been stripped of their firearms and issued slingshots and stones after most of the department failed competency tests. Of the department’s 130 officers only 30 passed the tests.
Alvarado’s mayor Bogar Ruiz Rosas argues that the failures were due to the department being made up of mostly newly recruited officers. He has protested the decision by the Veracruz state public secretariat to disarm his officers going as far as to hold a symbolic handover event where he issued police their new sidearms – slingshots and stones, as an act of protest. Ruiz said at the event: “Today we delivered slingshots to our municipal police. The citizen governor made the decision to take all the weapons, which disqualified him completely, as it violates our autonomy.”
Ruiz suggested that the disarming of his town’s police force for political point scoring reasons: “This can only be understood as something political and we have to be prepared to do work in a professional manner.” With the recent local and national elections Veracruz’ state governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, is part of a rival political party.
In response to Ruiz’ issuing of slingshots to police the governor responded warning Alvarado police that they cannot continue policing unarmed and doing so violates the law and they may be subject to prosecution. On the 25th June Ruiz requested that the Mexican federal government intervene.
Bizarrely this isn’t isn’t the first time a Mexican Police Department has been issued slingshots. Back in 2007, 60 police officers in Tijuana were issued slingshots after their weapons were confiscated by the Mexican Army. Officers were given a slingshot and a bag of ball bearings for use on patrol after officers were accused of corruption and gun smuggling.