CIUDAD JUAREZ, Chihuahua — Police officers in this border city have been working 12-20 hour shifts and have been forced to sleep on the streets as part of the massive security detail implemented for the visit of Pope Francis I.
As the city prepared to deal with millions of faithful followers of the Catholic faith, Breitbart Texas spoke with one police officer from Juarez who initially refused to give out his name and eventually asked to be identified only as Miguel.
The Juarez police officer said that since last Sunday when they had a mock drill, they had been working extremely long shifts in preparation for the Pope’s visit.
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas, Ciudad Juarez earned the nickname of the Murder Capital of the World in 2010 as the Sinaloa Cartel tried to wrestle control of the region out of the local Juarez Cartel.
While Juarez has seen improvement in public safety issues in recent years, on Wednesday morning the deployment of law enforcement and military forces was something local citizens had never seen. Mexican soldiers, Marines, Federal cops and local cops lined up the streets of Juarez as they prepared to keep order with the hundreds of thousands of followers expected to go into the events.
In addition to those who obtained passes to be allowed into the events, authorities are also preparing for more than 2 million followers who are expected to line up outside of the public venues for a chance to get a glimpse of the Pope. Inside one of the venues, as many as 220,000 people will be able to see the Pope firsthand.
“We got here last night at 8 p.m., Miguel said Friday early morning . “I’m going to be here until midnight.”
While daytime temperatures in Juarez rise to the 80’s, at night time the temperatures have been dropping to the low 40’s and high 30’s. The officer said he kept himself awake and warm by drinking coffee.
Breitbart Texas spoke with a second police officer named Rogelio who also spoke about working long shifts and sleeping on the streets. According to Rogelio, some of his colleagues slept in their patrol cars or even at public places in order to stay warm at night.