There are many reasons our foreign community is growing. Everyone wants a better life, whether it be the climate, the people, cost of living, easy pace, or even to get away from the bureaucracy of life north of the border. However, sometimes we can’t escape the hassles that come with dealing with officials of one type or other.
A concern with some of our growing foreign community is how traffic police, here and most places in Mexico, may seem to take advantage of foreigners. This may apply to other people of authority such as the military, and other branches of the police.
In general, the police are very effective and helpful. In many cases, if you ask for their assistance, they will go out of their way to assist you. Once when we were lost, for example, we asked an officer on a motorcycle for directions, and he turned on his lights and escorted us to where we needed to go, refusing a tip for his help.
The instances we will put forth in this article are rare, and happen to only a handful of people. If you are breaking the law, just remember – the traffic offense does not go on a permanent record, does not affect your insurance, and the fines or payments are far less expensive than you would pay back home.
There was once a government department to protect tourists in these circumstances called Procuraduria de Proteccion al Turismo. This organization is no longer in operation. We contacted the Secretaria de Turismo to describe some of the concerns of our foreign community.
Some examples we cited were people being pulled over for no apparent reason, and the officer, without giving a reason, threatening to tow the vehicle if some money wasn’t paid. Some people have broken a vehicular law and wanted a ticket instead of paying the prescribed payment, and again were threatened with being towed if the infraction wasn’t paid right away. “They intimidate you to the point you want to leave Mexico” is one comment we have heard.
The head of tourism in Jalisco was extremely interested in these claims we brought forward. He and his staff work hard promoting tourism in the state of Jalisco. These complaints are something he and his staff would like to know about in order to investigate the persons responsible. “We cannot afford for this type of publicity to continue to grow,” he stated.
We have prepared a form to help with this situation. The Secretaria de Turismo is listed at the top of the form as well as the name of the person this report is directed to. Then we have blanks labeled “Identification,” “Officer,” “Badge #,” “His/Her Name,” and other miscellaneous information. In the past we’ve noted that when people start requesting this information for the form, which is shown to the officer, almost everyone is left alone.
This form can be downloaded from our Website at www.ajijiclaw.com by clicking on “Forms and Laws”, and then selecting “Police Identification Form”. You can also e-mail us at [email protected] and ask for the form, which we will e-mail back to you. Or you can simply drop by our office and we’ll give you one. You can then make as many copies as you wish and pass them on to friends and relatives. We suggest a disposable camera for making the offending officer think twice about what he may be attempting.
For those of you who are not left alone, we have an agreement with the Secretaria de Turismo to gather these completed forms and forward them to him. His department will then take the necessary action to investigate and perhaps enforce some changes in the way the traffic police deal with foreigners. If you have the unfortunate experience of needing to fill out this form because you feel are being treated unfairly, please bring it to our office with a detailed description of the event so we can forward it to the Department of Tourism.
Please remember that if you did in fact break a traffic law, you are liable to a fine or dealing with it yourself with the officer. In most cases, they are very with offenders. But you may wish to be prepared by having this form in your car or on your person.