Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna hosts anti-crime forum
SEATTLE – With crime overwhelming Mexican police and prosecutors, attorneys general in the United States are stepping forward to help their colleagues from south of the border.
Beginning Monday, Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office will again host criminal investigators from Mexican state attorneys general offices for a week-long training session. Mexican prosecutors and investigators will receive hands-on experience in the latest evidence collection and processing techniques and be drilled in handling courtroom testimony and cross-examining witnesses. They’ll also learn about handling assault, rape and kidnapping investigations.
“These brave men and women risk their lives every day to establish the rule of law in Mexico,” McKenna said. “The criminal enterprises they’re fighting extend tentacles across the border. Our partnership with Mexican states aims to slash those tentacles and destroy gangs terrorizing Mexico.”
McKenna added that recent events raise the importance of these crime-fighting efforts. On Sept. 10, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Mexico, noting that “violence has occurred throughout the country, including in areas frequented by American tourists” and pointed out that in recent years, “dozens of U.S. citizens living in Mexico have been kidnapped and most of their cases remain unsolved.”
The training event is jointly sponsored by the National Conference of the Attorneys General of Mexico, the Alliance Partnership and The Conference of Western Attorneys General. It’s funded by The Merida Initiative. It follows 2008’s historic meeting between attorneys general from Mexico and the United States, and a subsequent “Agreement of Understanding” between the attorney general of Baja California and Washington’s attorney general. That agreement calls for a cooperative effort to “ensure justice, safety, and the liberty to encourage economic prosperity” and targets crimes such as human and weapon trafficking, money laundering and child pornography.
Attorney General McKenna will speak to the prosecutors at the W Hotel at 9 a..m. Monday, Oct. 11. Scheduled events include the processing of a mock crime scene on Tuesday, a presentation on kidnapping investigations on Wednesday and cross-examination drills on Thursday.
Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725