Tijuana Police Chief Zatarain said he has transferred a notorious motorcycle squad and its supervisor from the coast to other areas. Two police officers who harassed tourists last month were thrown in jail for 36 hours as punishment, he said. This month, the Police Department began subjecting officers suspected of corruption to lie-detector tests on a new polygraph machine that officials say is 98% accurate.
Conversely, officers who show Americans hospitality are treated like heroes. After Julio Caesar Garcia, a 33-year-old police supervisor, gave driving directions to a saleswoman for the Trump development, he was given an award by Torres' real estate association.
"She was impressed that I didn't ask for a bribe, but I was just doing my job," said Garcia, who was a bit bewildered by the praise. "I never got an award for being shot at."
The latest anti-corruption measures, say border experts, reflect Baja California's growing commitment to professional law enforcement. Police salaries in Tijuana were recently doubled -- to about $1,500 monthly -- making the force the highest paid in Mexico, say officials who hope the increases also will make their officers the least likely to seek bribes.