They are fighting a violent drug war - but a new government report released Sunday shows many Mexican police officers still earn $350 per month or less, despite reform efforts aimed at increasing wages and decreasing corruption among the country's police.
A report by the government's National Public Safety System says the average wage for state police in Mexico is 9,250 pesos, which is equal to about $670 per month or about $8,000 annually.
But in the drug violence-wracked northern border state of Tamaulipas, state officers receive on average about 3,618 pesos, or $262 per month. Officers in the far-less-violent central state of Aguascalientes receive five times more than that.
Some of the best-paid state and local police are in the northwestern border state of Baja California, while some of the lowest-paid police are in the southern part of the country.
The report urged lagging states and municipalities to raise police wages. Low salaries have been cited as one cause of police corruption.
On Saturday, federal prosecutors detained the police chief of Ciudad Lerdo in northern Durango state and 39 of his officers for questioning in connection with the disappearance of a federal police officer on July 10.
The federal officer was serving as part of a guard detail in the city when he disappeared.
Federal police detained the local officers and took them to the neighboring city of Torreon for questioning. The officers have not been formally charged with any wrongdoing.
Federal police officers usually earn much more than their state or local counterparts, with a starting wage of about 12,000 pesos, or $870 per month.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.