The top cop in the relatively peaceful Mexican state of Queretaro recently had to admit that his police force was recruiting officers from a pool of young, tall, thin and mostly white-skinned models in an attempt to change their image.
Queretaro police spokesman Luis Enrique Estrada said at a press conference earlier this month that the sexy police unit, which also included a hot guys' division, was meant only for PR purposes. The photogenic police were never intended to be deployed on active duty, he said.
Estrada’s comments came after Mexican daily Reforma reported the state was trying to create a cuerpazo (“hot bod”) police unit.
The sexy cop scandal first made headlines when dozens of real Queretaro policewomen denounced they were being discriminated against through the hot-bod “promotional” initiative. They filed a complaint with the state’s human rights commission arguing that Queretaro’s police brass was being machista by trying to create a group “based only on physical attributes,” according to a press release by NGO Coincidir Mujeres.
“The real policewomen who submitted the complaint said agency officials were selecting recruits based on their looks to appear in promotional posters and to create a new unit to patrol social events,” Maricruz Ocampo, a spokesperson for the NGO, told Fusion.
“They also complained that officials used words like ‘fat’ to describe them, and that the security agency had a big problem of generalized abuse towards women,” she added.
The scandal is similar to another one that took place in the state of Aguascalientes, when a sexy police unit was created back in 2013 to assist the citizenry in malls, town squares and social events while wearing high-heels, tight uniforms and plenty of makeup. The famous resort town of Acapulco also recently deployed a sexy police force to welcome tourists.
While some are outraged, others are taking delight in Mexico's hot cop fascination. Mexican social media recently exploded with images of a muscular policeman directing traffic in the northern city of Guadalajara.
Some of the hot cop frenzy seems to be in good fun, but other aspects point to a real problem of machismo and sexism in Mexican state security. It can manifest itself violently in its worst form, or just through really bad decision-making. Like what happened recently in the coastal state of Veracruz, where local security agency officials had state policemen perform as strippers to celebrate female police academy employees during International Women’s Day.