Responding to some of the highest murder rates in the world, and ever-more audacious abuses by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and gangs, Mexico and the countries of the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras) have turned to their militaries to bolster weak and easily corruptible civilian police forces. Why? Because police forces, especially local forces, currently do not have the numbers, resources, skills, or institutional cultures to face these threats. However, militaries are, at best, blunt instruments for police work. They face legal and constitutional quandaries and, in the long run, will not provide a solution leading to stable, law abiding democracies. Further, their protracted involvement creates opportunities for abuse and are latent, long term threats to democracy and human rights.