LISTEN UP—THERE’S A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
El Ojo De Lago wishes to welcome our new police chief, Captain Reynol Contreras Munoz. In a recent interview, Captain Contreras shared his opinion on a number of issues that impact life at Lakeside.
Captain Contreras was an Air Traffic Controller in the Mexican Air Force for 25 years and also has extensive experience in private security and operations.
Currently, the Captain is recruiting new members for his police force. Individuals must have a proper education, no criminal record, good general culture, as well as good appearance and presentation.
The Department has recently added six new officers in the Turista Division and they hope to add another 20 to the force within the next four months. Long range planning goal includes the addition of at least 100 more officers.
The current budget has provided eight new motorcycles and replaced a number of the older weapons, in addition to allowing for additional officers.
The street patrols are being increased for both day and night coverage, but Captain Contreras says we still need a lot more. Unfortunately, there is no bilingual staff person on the telephones 24/7, but the Captain is hoping to make that a reality sometime in the future. In the meantime, a suggestion would be to prepare your comments and questions in Spanish prior to the call.
The Captain’s area of responsibility is widespread which makes his job even more challenging. Some of the communities included are Chapala, San Antonio, Ajijic, Santa Cruz, San Nicholas, San Juan Cosala, and Jocotepec. Add to that the highway access and road conditions and you can understand much better the challenges he is facing. The police response time is greatly impacted by these factors, but they plan to work hard to make it better.
There are a number of community programs available to provide additional education and information about crime prevention. The local school children receive information about crime and drug prevention through the D.A.R.E. program. As you might imagine, much of the crime in the area is drug related or drug motivated.
Crime prevention is everyone’s concern. You can do your part by evaluating your property and surrounding areas, making them as safe and secure as possible. Always be alert for potential dangers when walking, don’t be out alone at night, carry a whistle or something to make a loud noise so others might hear and help you in the event of an emergency, don’t carry a lot of cash or wear expensive jewelry and always beware of potential stalkers.
If you are a crime victim or witness to a crime, please report it.
Captain Contreras is planning to communicate more through town meetings and with the Lake Chapala Society. He is also open to the idea of having a small group of ex-pats available as liaison to the American/Canadian population. The Department currently has two dogs. One has been trained as an attack dog and the other for detecting drugs. There may be an opportunity in the future to add more dogs to the force, particularly if they could be trained in advance. (Sounds like an opportunity for some of the animal groups in town.)
The amount of work to be done is the Captain’s biggest challenge, but he is very optimistic that they will reach their goals. The local support is very important and he welcomes your comments and suggestions. Look forward to updates from Captain Contreras in El Ojo De Lago.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com