Officials in the central State of Mexico have hired hundreds of women police officers in hopes of stopping corruption that has plagued the police department for years.
These new police officers are being place in charge of issuing traffic violations, and can be seen in their black uniforms with a broad neon orange stripe across their chests.
Officials hope this new line of officers are less inclined to take the “mordida” or bribe that many of Mexican crooked cops have been known be a part of.
Why hire female cops? The answer is simple. Women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men, say authorities.
“Mexico State’s traffic police is only made up of women now,” says an announcer in one advertisement. “Remember they are the only ones authorized to write you a ticket.”
The advertisement is a part of Mexico State governor Eruviel Avila Villegas anti-corruption campaign, advertised on billboards, radio and television, according to TIME.
Ecatepec Police Chief Carolos Ortega Carpinteyro told NPR that women are much better suited for traffic duty than men because people respect them more.
“When a man is approached by a female cop, even though he is the stronger sex, he calms down and will listen to her,” he says. “Women are more trustworthy and take their oath of office more seriously. They don’t ask for or take bribes.”
Ortega has only 60 women on his transit force at the moment, but hopes to find more who best portray a good image, something that has proved to be difficult to find.
“We get too many short and fat ones,” Ortega says. “We need tall women that render respect when out in the streets.”
So far, the female cops out there directing traffic are only authorized to give verbal warnings and not actual tickets. The state will not allow them to do so until local police units put required anti-corruption safeguards in place. No units have done so as of yet.
While state and police officials are pulling out more steps to fight corruption, one driver, Diana Mendez told NPR that she doesn’t think hiring female cops will solve the problem. Two months ago she had a run –in with a female officer who threatened to impound Mendez’ car unless she paid a bribe.
“I had to pay her the 200 pesos,” Mendez said. She added she still feels guilty about contributing to corruption.
But cop Maria Villa Fuerte, hopes to show people that cops can be honest. At the moment she directs traffic on a busy intersection. That is, when she is given the opportunity to prove it.
“That will be much better than just standing here in the middle of the street, blowing a whistle,” she said.