Here’s a look at Decatur police’s revised immigration policy

DECATUR, Ala. — The Decatur Police Department released a revised immigration procedures policy Tuesday afternoon after Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling criticized the original policy on social media.

The policy and the revisions outlines how the  police department will interact with the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Here are the policies listed side by side:

Policy as of Sept. 25

POLICY

It is the policy of the Decatur Police Department to comply with local, state or federal laws while protecting the rights of all citizens living or visiting our community.

Policy as of Oct.2

POLICY

It is the policy of the Decatur Police Department to comply with local, state or federal laws while protecting the rights of all citizens living or visiting our community.

Policy as of Sept. 25

DEFINITIONS

Section 287(g) Agreement: Partnership between ICE and a state or local law enforcement agency that delegates authority to state and local enforcement officers to perform immigration enforcement functions.

PROCEDURES

The enforcement of immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government, through the United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency (“ICE”).

Policy as of Oct. 2

DEFINITIONS

Section 287(g) Agreement: Partnership between ICE and a state or local law enforcement agency that delegates authority to state and local enforcement officers to perform immigration enforcement functions.

PROCEDURES
The enforcement of immigration law is primarily the responsibility of the federal government, through the United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency (“ICE”).

Policy as of Sept. 25

1. Section 287(g) agreements under 8 U.S.C. 1357 are voluntary agreements which require local consent. DPD will refrain from entering into these agreements, as they are not consistent with furthering DPD’s community policing philosophy.

Policy as of Oct. 2

1. Section 287(g) agreements under 8 U.S.C. 1357 are voluntary agreements which require local consent. DPD will refrain from entering into these agreements, as they are not consistent with furthering DPD’s community policing philosophy.

Policy as of Sept. 25

2. Officers will not undertake any immigration-related investigation unless said operation involves an individual who has committed crimes directly related to public safety and as outlined in section 5.

Policy as of Oct. 2

2. Officers will not undertake any immigration-related deportation or detainer investigation unless said operation involves an individual who has committed crime(s) directly related to public safety.

Policy as of Sept. 25

3. Assisting ICE in enforcing civil immigration laws is not permitted unless approved by the Chief of Police.

Policy as of Oct. 2

3. In the event that ICE requests non-emergency assistance from DPD to further the enforcement of civil immigration laws DPD will make every effort to assist as it would with any federal or state agency seeking such assistance provided such request is approved by the Chief of Police and such assistance can be provided without undue hindrance of the provision of police services to the City at large.

Policy as of Sept. 25

4. Individual may not be detained or arrested solely for a suspected violation of immigration law.

Policy as of Oct. 2

4. Individual may not be arrested solely for a suspected violation of immigration laws and will only be detained for immigration law violations if they are already in custody for nonimmigration charge and a detainer is requested by ICE. Such detainer may be requested by DPD whenever the suspect is in custody at the request of ICE but the detainer may only be valid for a period of up to 24 hours beyond the time the other charges were holding the suspect in custody.

Policy as of Sept. 25

5. DPD will only cooperate with lawful requests from ICE under the following circumstances, after approval has been granted by a Division Commander or the Chief of Police and when individuals are:

a. Engaged in or is suspected of terrorism or espionage;
b. Reasonably suspected of participating in criminal activities as defined by State Statute or city ordinance. If the subject is suspected of being an undocumented alien, ICE may be contacted with approval from a Division Commander or the Chief of Police;
c. Classified as previously deported felons.

Policy as of Oct. 2

5. Additionally, DPD may assist ICE agents when they anticipate or encounter violent resistance and/or with the approval of a Division Commander or the Chief of the Police.

Policy as of Sept. 25

6. Additionally, DPD may assist ICE agents only if they anticipate or encounter violent resistance and/or with the approval of a Division Commander or the Chief of the Police.

Policy as of Oct. 2

6. Any notification or contact with ICE for the purpose of detaining or apprehending individuals who are not being held on other criminal charges should only be made with the approval of a Division Commander or the Chief of Police.

Policy as of Sept. 25

7. When time and circumstances allow, approval should be obtained from a Division Commander or the Chief of Police prior to detaining an individual for any of the reasons outlined above.

Policy as of Oct. 2

7. An individual’s right to file a police report or otherwise receive services from DPD is not contingent upon their citizenship or immigration status.

Policy as of Sept. 25

8. Any notification or contact with ICE for the purpose of detaining or apprehending individuals should only be made with the approval of a Division Commander or the Chief of Police.

Policy as of Oct. 2

8. Officers shall strive to treat all individuals equally and fairly regardless of their immigration status.

Policy as of Sept. 25

9. An individual’s right to file a police report or otherwise receive services from DPD is not contingent upon their citizenship or immigration status.

Policy as of Oct. 2

9. Officers shall not inquire into the immigration status of persons encountered during police operations unless reasonable suspicion or probable cause exists to believe the person committed a crime and the person is believed to be undocumented. Officers shall not ask any individual to produce a passport, Alien Registration Card (Green Card) or any other immigration documentation. This does not prohibit an officer from considering these documents as appropriate forms of identification when voluntarily provided by the individual to establish someone’s identity. Referrals to ICE concerning detainers or apprehension shall be made in accordance to number 6.

Policy as of Sept. 25

10. Officers shall strive to treat all individuals equally and fairly regardless of their immigration status.

Policy as of Oct. 2

10. Although officers will not request identification to determine a person’s immigration status, they may request identification from individuals as they enforce traffic violations and/or conduct criminal investigations. Referrals to ICE concerning detainers or apprehension shall be made in accordance to number 6.

Policy as of Sept. 25

11. Officers shall not inquire into the immigration status of persons encountered during police operations. Officers shall not ask any individual to produce a passport, Alien Registration Card(Green Card) or any other immigration documentation. This does not prohibit an officer from considering these documents as appropriate forms of identification when voluntarily provided by the individual to establish someone’s identity.

Policy as of Oct. 2

N/A

Policy as of Sept. 25

12. Although officers will not request identification to determine a person’s immigration status, they may request identification from individuals as they enforce traffic violations and/or conduct criminal investigations.

Policy as of Oct. 2

N/A

The issue was highlighted over the weekend in a Facebook post by Mayor Tab Bowling. Bowling said the chief’s policy instructed officers to not support Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Decatur.

His post said, “Let this notice be an answer to all rumors associated with Chief Allen’s policy; Decatur will not be a Sanctuary City. I will ask Chief Allen to rescind his policy and I am confident our City Council will stand in favor of my statement.”

Then Police Chief Nate Allen released a statement Monday on the issue.

The Decatur Police Department is committed to the safety and well-being of all residents by upholding and enforcing all local and state laws. Officers shall strive to treat all individuals equally and fairly regardless of their immigration status.

All policies and procedures of the department are carefully written and reviewed under the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies’ strict guidelines and best practices.

“As an agency seeking accreditation, we take great pride in creating only fair and clear policies impacting our community. Our roles as a municipal police department are direct, and our policies are unilaterally focused on the protection of all who reside in Decatur and the officers who keep them safe,” says CALEA Accreditation Manager Sergeant Selby De Léon.

With over 1,000 accredited departments nationwide, CALEA provides the framework for addressing high risk issues within a contemporary environment, to ensure officers are prepared and meet basic community service expectations.

“We’re proud of the service we provide to our residents. We’re in the business of saving lives, helping the hurt, and comforting the scared. We’ll leave the governing decisions to those best versed to make them,” says Police Chief Nate Allen

Later Monday, Decatur officials released a statement indicating a revised policy would be released Tuesday.

In lieu of any press conferences and in response to concerns voiced regarding General Order 426.0 (Immigration Procedures), the Mayor’s Office, Legal Department, and Police Department are working to clarify the policy to correct some misunderstandings or vagueness and to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.

The changes should be made quickly and will be released as soon as complete.

It is our desire in the City to fully comply with the letter and spirit of federal and state laws, as we work together to protect the people of the City of Decatur.

The policy, detailed above, was released on Tuesday.

Read the revised policy here.

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