Working Amidst the Chaos: A Policewoman in Mexico City

Norma Lizeth Hernandez

You work six days a week while putting in 14-hour days. Your office is on the streets of one of the largest and busiest cities in the world where masses of tourists and locals scurry around centuries-old structures. It’s a job that’s dangerous, low-paying, at times deficient of high morale, and one that’s been branded with negativity in the past.

Norma Lizeth Hernandez knows this life very well. She’s been a police officer working the beat in the heart of Mexico City for less than a year. Prior to entering the force, she studied Licenciatura en Informática at Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Ixtapaluca. For her, the role of a policewoman in a force that’s made up of approximately twenty percent female is a dignified and honorable way to make a living. “I’m working in my favorite part of the city where our history is evident everywhere you look. What could be better?” “Aside from this,” she goes on, “I have the opportunity to interact with so many people and help them out whenever I can. Plus, there’s never a dull moment around here and I get to learn from my seasoned coworkers. I really do love my job!”

But, what about the long-standing, ‘not-so-favorable’ image of the police, people in the U.S. and Mexico have maintained? “Yes, unfortunately there’s been a very bad picture painted of us in the past, even here in Mexico, but as you know the media tend to primarily report the negative and seldom highlight the good deeds we do accomplish. I think if people saw things from our inner perspective then there would be less passing judgment, less criticism and a stronger movement to trusting what we do for them. This is not an easy job! But, it’s a rewarding one, and one that I, and most of my colleagues, cherish and truly enjoy doing from day to day. I think short of walking in our shoes, people will never fully comprehend the high level of difficulty associated with it.” With a challenging past to overcome, what are Lizeth’s goals?  “Definitely to repair our image and to continue to help people navigate their way around here safely and orderly. I also think people visiting Mexico City should take advantage and utilize our numerous tourism kiosks. The people working those places are a wealth of information and can steer them to the significant locations throughout and answer any questions that may be lingering about safety or other issues of concern.”

When asked what area of Mexico City is her favorite, Lizeth quickly answered, “I’m working in it! I’m lucky to have been assigned to the Zócalo area because it’s one of the safest and besides, our history is rooted here.”

Officer Hernandez overseeing the crowd in Mexico City's Zócalo area would like to thank Officer Lizeth Hernandez for sharing with us a bit about the challenges she encounters while doing her job to keep Mexico City safe.

Next time you find yourself traveling, whether it’s in Mexico or any other country, remember to thank the men and women who serve the public and keep our cities secure and orderly so we may enjoy them.

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