New Police General Order
John DeStefano, Jr. City Of New Haven
Mayor PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday Dec. 14, 2006
NEW HAVEN POLICE ISSUE EXECUTIVE ORDER - NO RESIDENT SHOULD BE AFRAID OF REPORTING CRIME
FORMAL POLICY WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO POLICE OFFICERS AND SUPERVISORS THURSDAY DEC. 14TH AND WILL TAKE EFFECT ONE WEEK LATER
New Haven: New Haven Police Chief Francisco Ortiz has signed General Order 06-2 establishing his department’s policy and procedures concerning citizenship status, enforcement of federal immigration laws and the disclosure of confidential information. The formal policy, which sets in writing practices which the New Haven Police Department has already been following, will be distributed to police officers and supervisors Thursday Dec. 14th and will take effect one week later, Dec. 21st. During that week the New Have Police Department and the City of New Haven will work with members of the city’s faith based community and advocacy groups to educate members of the public about the general order.
The formal policy is meant to encourage all residents, regardless of immigration status, to feel comfortable reporting crime and talking with the police. “If victims aren’t comfortable talking to police, we can’t ensure and maintain civil neighborhoods,” said Mayor John DeStefano. “This is a smart extension of community policing that will make all residents safer.”
General Order 06-2 formalizes six procedures that New Haven Police officers are to follow:
• Police officers shall not inquire about a person’s immigration status unless investigating criminal activity.
• It shall be the policy of the department not to inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police seeking assistance.
• Officers and other members of the New Haven Police Department shall continue to cooperate with federal authorities in investigating and apprehending illegal immigrants suspected of criminal activity.
• No person shall be detained solely on the belief that he or she is not present legally in the United States, or that he or she has committed a civil immigration violation. There is no general obligation for a police officer to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding any person, unless that person is arrested on a criminal charge.
• Officers shall not make arrests based on administrative warrants for arrest or removal entered by ICE into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, including administrative immigration warrants for persons with outstanding removal, deportation or exclusion orders. Enforcement of the civil provisions of U.S. immigration law is the responsibility of federal immigration officials.
• The New Haven Police Department shall conduct all necessary training and education to ensure that its officers are knowledgeable about all provisions contained in this General Order. Referrals to medical or social service agencies will be made to undocumented immigrants in the same manner they are made to all other community members.
Nothing in this general order shall be construed to prohibit any officer or employee from cooperating with federal immigration authorities as required by law.
“A significant part of New Haven’s population is afraid to talk with police, this includes victims of street crime and domestic abuse,” said Assistant Chief Stephanie Redding. “We want them to come to us, to get help, and hopefully this general order will encourage them to do so.”
Sandra Koorejian, Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven, says, “We think it’s very forward thinking of the New Haven Police Department to address the safety needs of all residents the same, regardless of immigration status. There are many victims of domestic violence who are threatened by their partner that they will be deported if they call the police.”
Pastor Hector Rivera, Secretary of the Association of Ministers of New Haven, says, “This general order by the police department is a good thing because it will empower many residents to come forward and report crime. I see too many people who are victimized solely based on their ethnicity and immigration status because the offender knows the crime will go unreported.”
New Haven’s general order is unique among municipalities in Connecticut but there are dozens of municipal and state governments in the U.S. which have adopted similar procedures. In total, sixty eight municipal and state governmental entities have enacted policies, resolutions or ordinances rejecting the expansion of local law enforcement duties to include civil immigration enforcement, and stating that all residents will be treated the same by local police – regardless of immigration status.
"This general order is going to have a tremendous impact in New Haven.,” said Kica Matos, Director of Junta for Progressive Action – the oldest Latino, community based non-profit organization in New Haven. “Not only will immigrants feel safer, but the community at large will also benefit. This is an example of community policing at its best."
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