Morelia (Mexico), 12 January 2021 – Two police officers trained by UNODC in Mexico have received the Social Merit Award from the Ministry of Public Security in the State of Michoacan de Ocampo. This award honors their efforts in enhancing police assistance provided to women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence.
This recognition is awarded to officers whose work has a positive impact on their community, improves the reputation of law enforcement agencies, and provides assistance to vulnerable sectors of society.
The recipients of the award, Officer Alejandra Ruíz Ortiz and Officer Gerardo Daniel Duarte Arroyo, took part in the "Strengthening Programme for the Security of Vulnerable Groups”. The training programme is the result of a partnership between UNODC, the Merida Initiative and the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection since 2017; in line with the Integral Programme for the Prevention of Femicides and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Alejandra and Gerardo received the award for their excellent performance and commitment to continuous professional development. They implemented the knowledge they acquired via UNODC’s training programme in their home state of Michoacan. Yet, they have also gone above and beyond by becoming trainers and delivering the content themselves throughout the state.
Their work as trainers has been defined by the continuous implementation of new mainstreaming strategies and integrating a gender perspective into all the workshops they deliver. They firmly believe in contributing to the eradication of gender-based violence throughout Mexico, in collaboration with their fellow officers.
Alejandra and Gerardo shared their testimonies, revealing the significance of this award for their careers:
"Highlighting the work of the police force has been a rewarding achievement. Thanks to the ‘Strengthening Programme’, the hard work we put in along many years has gained visibility. After completing this programme, I was promoted in my professional career and I have also become a better person. I would like my colleagues to be aware that we must educate ourselves every day to improve our skills, apply legal principles and provide a better service to women who are victims of violence. I want to remind them that we work with human beings, who have feelings and need our support".
Officer Alejandra Ruíz Ortiz
"This award is the result of all the work we do in various institutions. The ‘Strengthening Programme’ has changed me on a personal level but also within my workplace; it has made me more empathetic towards victims of gender-based violence.
I am convinced that all police officers should receive training in best practices when assisting women and girls. Gender-based violence is currently on the rise, but it is in our hands to change the normalization of violence, it is our duty to tell victims: ‘You are not alone’ (...). I am very grateful to be part of international projects like this one, because UNODC has always been very supportive of police officers who want to take advantage of these opportunities. I would just like to ask them to continue with these programmes".
Officer Gerardo Daniel Duarte Arroyo
The Strengthening Programme for the Security of Vulnerable Groups is currently imparted throughout 25 states and 30 municipalities in Mexico. More than 12,000 first responders have been trained over the last four years.