Monday, April 15, 2024

LAPD Chief Makes Case for Leaving Immigration Enforcement to ICE


Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, who will be ending his seven year stint as chief on Saturday, said that the LAPD needs to continue a 30 year old policy known as Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from stopping someone for the sole reason of determining if they are in this country illegally. In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, he explained that in order to continue solving crimes it is vital that the LAPD not go into the business of determining people’s legal status. Bratton continued: “My officers can’t prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported.”

Bratton gave the example of being able to arrest a suspect in the murder of a homeless man in March because an undocumented immigrant came forward as a witness.

Harold Sturgeon, a city of Los Angeles resident, filed a lawsuit in 2006 against the LAPD on behalf of all taxpayers. He claimed that the 1979 policy was unlawful because it kept police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from cooperating. He was unsuccessful in his suit, and a California Court of Appeals panel upheld the policy.

According to Bratton, some residents have inquired as to why the LAPD hasn’t joined in the Homeland Security program 287(g) – a program that gives some state and local police the same powers as ICE agents. Bratton said that to him it is more important that the public report crimes and identify criminals. “Breeding fear and distrust of authority among some of our children could increase rates of crime, violence and disorder as those children grow up to become fearful and distrustful adolescents and adults,” he said. “That is why the Los Angeles Police Department has not participated in 287(g) and the federal government is not pressuring the department to do so.”

Bratton plans encourage his eventual replacement to continue the Special Order 40 policy and refrain from turning the LAPD into another arm of ICE.

The Associated Press