This post was originally published by Campus Progress.
A 20-year-old criminology student, Marisol Valles Garcia, just became the chief of police in one of the most dangerous towns in Mexico. She was appointed by the town’s mayor, Jose Luis Guerrero, after no one else applied for the position—and she might be young, but she’s definitely got guts.
Valles Garcia’s home town of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero, just south of the Texas border, has long been the site of drug-related violence. The AFP reports that more than 28,000 people died in the state of Chihuahua due to drug wars over the past four years.
The fear of being killed off by drug magnates—a very real concern, considering the previous mayor was killed in June, and the town saw eight drug-related murdersin the past week alone—is one that prevented others from offering themselves up for the job. Valles Garcia isn’t going to let that stop her.
Valles Garcia is finishing a degree in criminology at the Centro Cultural Universitario in Ciudad Juarez, one of the most violent cities in North America. One of her professors assured the New York Post that she wasn’t being foolhardy when she took the job, and knew what she was getting into:
"[She’s] very brave and very intelligent," he told the Post, fighting back tears as he talked about the trouble she faced. "It was a difficult decision for her. She has said so, but she also said that all of us are afraid of the situation that’s happening now in Mexico.
"She’s in some danger, and she knows it," he added. "But she’s very prepared and intelligent and going to do her new job in the best way possible."
Valles Garcia has a buck-stops-here attitude about the violence plaguing her town. "I took the risk because I want my son to live in a different community to the one we have today," Valles Garcia said in a press conference after being sworn in Monday. "I want people to be able to go out without fear, as it was before."