Following are answers to questions posed by the Arizona Daily Sun to Flagstaff Police Chief Kevin Treadway about the implementation of the "Show me your papers" provision of SB1070.
Question: What change will enforcement of provisions in SB1070 now in force bring to the Flagstaff PD procedures on traffic stops and other detentions?
Answer: SB1070 now requires officers to make contact with ICE through a computer inquiry or phone call when the officer develops reasonable suspicion to believe an individual already stopped, detained or arrested is in the country unlawfully.
Breaking this down, this means when an officer has stopped, detained or arrested a person based upon establishing reasonable suspicion a crime or traffic violation has occurred and during this contact, they develop separate reasonable suspicion the person is an undocumented alien, the officer will make an inquiry with ICE to determine whether ICE has information revealing that person is in the U.S. illegally. Officers will not be stopping or detaining persons based solely on their immigration status, and the Flagstaff Police Department will not tolerate officers stopping an individual based upon their race, color or national original, in other words, racially profiling.
Officers will not detain a person any longer than it would take to normally complete the stop or investigation, which means if ICE does not respond in that amount of time, the individual will be released if probable cause has not been developed to believe they have committed a crime other than an immigration violation. Officers will not be investigating the immigration status of individuals who are witnesses or victims of a crime, or who have contacted the police department to file a complaint.
Q: What kind of training and preparation has been made for officers to enforce SB1070?
A: The entire police department has viewed the POST (Police Officer Standards and Training) DVD. Governor Brewer issued a mandate earlier this summer that law enforcement officers throughout the State view this comprehensive DVD covering in detail the requirements under SB1070. The police department has reported to POST that we have fulfilled this requirement. For several weeks, the Flagstaff Police Department has worked on creating policy for SB1070. We have worked closely with the Flagstaff City Attorneys Office, and have utilized a sample policy made available statewide through the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police. Squad level training on this policy and philosophy surrounding the enforcement of SB1070 will be conducted by Command level officers to all squads beginning next week. Many of these discussions have already previously taken place, but will formalized over the next week or so.
Q: Because the new provisions make "papers please" a mandate for officers, what potential problems do you foresee?
A: Most of the challenges surrounding SB1070 have to do with fear in the community. It is a complex piece of legislation, and some people misunderstand and are fearful of the impacts of this legislation in daily encounters between police and individuals we contact. My biggest concern is that folks will be afraid to contact law enforcement to report a crime or make us aware of suspicious or criminal activity in the community. I want to assure folks once again, that if you contact the Flagstaff Police Department to report a crime, as a witness or victim, your immigration status will not be investigated.
Q: Do you see this provision extending beyond traffic enforcement?
A: This law mandates officers to check immigration status when reasonable suspicion exists to believe a person is an undocumented alien on all stops, detentions and arrests, so yes, that would include contacts other than traffic stops. It is important to understand that the stop itself will be for reasons other than immigration. Officers are very familiar with developing reasonable suspicion to stop individuals for traffic violations, as well as stopping or detaining individuals because they have reasonable suspicion to believe a person has committed or are about to commit a crime. The notion of reasonable suspicion is not new, is not specific to just SB1070, and is something done every day by police officers.
With SB1070, officers will keep doing what they have always done-develop reasonable suspicion for a stop and detention (and later probable cause for an arrest if appropriate) but now, after that initial stop, if they develop reasonable suspicion to believe the person is an undocumented alien, they are mandated to check immigration status with ICE.
I believe incidents where a criminal ICE hold has been placed on individuals stopped and detained by our officers in Flagstaff will be relatively few. On arrest situations, our department has been mandated for many years to determine immigration status at time of booking so Consular notification can be made, so that doesn't change at all.
Q: What assurances do you offer to undocumented aliens in the community that coming forward with information about crimes will not result in their detention on immigration status issues?
A: Once again, our officers have received extensive training, and our policy has been carefully crafted to insure officers will only be placing a phone call to ICE on individuals stopped, detained or arrested. We would remind folks not to drive if they don't possess a drivers license. As always, we tell folks in our community not to commit a crime in order to avoid involvement with the police.
Finally, and most importantly, if an individual is a victim or witness of a crime, they are not stopped or detained under that definition by the police. If they have not committed a crime, people who contact the police to report a crime (a victim or a witness) will not have their immigration status investigated by one of our officers.
Q: What are the police department's plans to clarify the issue to the community?
A: On Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, I met with a large crowd at Killip School to address issues and answer questions in regards to SB1070. This was a great event, attended by a large number of concerned individuals. The meeting was set up by Leah Mundell and others and was very well orchestrated, lasting about 3 hours. Feedback received following the meeting suggested some concerns were alleviated once individuals had a better understanding of SB1070, and policies being drafted by the Flagstaff Police Department. The entire meeting was conducted in both English and Spanish. I contacted Ms. Mundell earlier this week and offered to attend a second meeting.
This meeting is being scheduled in the first or second week of October. At that meeting, we intend to provide folks with a copy of our policy (in either English or Spanish) and again answer specific questions or address concerns. We also intend to place copies of this policy on our website. We would entertain attending any additional meetings the community desires on this topic.