San Luis Potosí will soon have a new weapon in the fight against crime: an elite SWAT team created by the new governor.
The unit is the first of its kind designed to combat crimes that fall within state jurisdiction, the newspaper Milenio reported. The force will be made up of state police with training in weapons and tactics for combating robbery, assault, and other crimes.
It is a model that is already familiar in the United States, where SWAT teams typically respond to acts of terrorism, hostage situations, and reports of heavily armed criminals.
Governor Ricardo Gallardo Cardona said that like in the U.S., the San Luis Potosí SWAT team will respond quickly to urgent situations — but is not designed to fight cartels.
“They will be the ones who react immediately. People are tired of robberies, they are tired of assaults, they are tired of extortion … that is where we have to step in,” Gallardo said, adding that the group will work to “repel all the evil that exists in San Luis Potosí.”
The state government said the force will start with 200 members and have 450 by next January.
Homicides in the state have trended upward over the last several years due to confrontations between criminal groups, though the 2020 homicide rate of 28 murders per 100,000 residents remains slightly below the national average. The rate of killings of police officers also increased from four cases in 2019 to 19 in 2020.