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Ohio Officers Told Not to Ask for Immigration Status

Ohio Officers Told Not to Ask for Immigration Status

Dayton Daily News via YellowBrix

January 13, 2010

DAYTON, Ohio — City police officers are now prohibited from asking the immigration status of a witness or victim of a crime in hopes it eases fears some ethnic groups have of law enforcement.

Police Chief Richard Biehl issued the executive order to his nearly 390 officers on Dec. 30, telling them, “Citizens must feel free to call for police services without fear of undue repercussions.”

Biehl’s order, aimed mostly at the Latino community, goes on to say that a “police presence within the entire community is extremely important to engender a feeling of safety and trust,”

The order is being cheered by the city’s Hispanic community, whose leaders have said many victims of crimes who can’t provide documented citizenship don’t report incidents to police because they fear being arrested or even deported.

“Reporting crimes helps everyone in the community, and Chief Biehl wants to stop crime in the city,” said Sister Maria Stacy, director of the local Hispanic Catholic Ministry.

Biehl said he was made aware of issues that some ethnic groups in the city, most notably the Latino population, had with his department and its policing practices.

Dayton police union President Randy Beane disagrees with Biehl’s order, saying it circumvents federal law that officers are asked to follow regarding illegal immigrants. Beane said some officers disagree with Biehl’s order so strongly they said they are willing to disobey it.

“We believe that anyone in this country should be legal or in the process of becoming legal,” Beane said. “In this age of terrorism, it is our duty to make sure someone is legally living in this country.”

But Biehl maintains the directive, which is modeled after a recommendation from an organization of police chiefs from the country’s largest cities, actually helps his officers better police the community and seek out any terrorist element.

“We must protect this community and in doing so make sure all citizens, documented or undocumented, who are victims or witnesses to a crime feel they can talk to police,” Biehl said. “It is our duty to protect and serve everyone within the city limits.”

Community leaders estimate there are between 20,000 and 30,000 Latinos living in the city, concentrated mostly on the city’s east side. Dave Larson, a local immigration attorney, said there could be between 5,000 to 10,000 undocumented Latinos in the city, “but that is merely a guess.”

Activists in the Latino community and law enforcement officials are eagerly awaiting new U.S. Census Bureau data that should provide a more accurate number of Latinos living in the city.

Stacy and other Latino leaders said they aren’t aware of any other local police departments issuing such an order because there isn’t enough of a population to warrant a directive.

As for any changes to policy or police practices, Biehl said he was not sure what, if any, would be implemented. But Biehl said he does not want his officers determining if a victim or witness to a crime is a legal citizen or even asking questions related to someone’s immigration status.

He added those who feel undocumented immigrants are not privy to services provided by taxpayers are “wrong-headed.”

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    sounds like it's going to turn out bad.

  • Mourning_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Either enforce the laws or repeal them. Stop making policy that is contrary to the law.

  • Me_last_wk_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is messed up on so many levels

  • Me_max50


    over 4 years ago


    1tinman, I agree 100%. I am tired of tip toeing around peoples feelings.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    If they are here illegal they are criminals, add that to the original charge that you confronted them for and let the judge sort it out. I understand we are policing, not selective policing. Thats BS.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    Well Mr. Dip-$hit, call me Mr. Wrong-headed. I guess we are both glad I dont work in your city (which is obviosly going to $hit). The more we pamper these illegals the more we encourage even more illegals to cross our borders, strain our economy, over wrok/assault/kill our border patrols, and all Law Enforcement Officers. Don't think so? Ask Deputy Sheriff Josie Greathouse Fox of the Millard County Sheriff’s Office, oh wait you cant, SHE'S DEAD. Killed by an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT!! Good call on your executive decision dumb-a$$!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    what bs

  • Gods_team_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What a crock of BS! If you don't want to be asked for your immigration status, COME HERE LEGALLY!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Anytime people of integrity stand up for what is right, they are criticised by those who do not have the intestinal fortitude (or sense) to do the same thing. If we would have drawn a line in the sand years ago and taken care of business, we would not be having these problems now.
    In order to fix any issue as problematic as "illegals", there will be negative repurcussions. Too many people (like this Chief) want to comprimise. That is the type of attitude that has brought us to where we are now. It can get much worst if something of substance is not done.
    For those of you who believe the philosophy of this Chief, think about it. Yes, crimes might go unreported and witnesses may refuse to give information and other people (even us) will become victims because of it. There is a flip side to this issue as well. If we had a minimum "illegal" population, we wouldn't be discussing this. IF we had done the hard thing years ago, then all these problems we face now would never have come about.
    Now the question is: Do we fix the problem, or do we continue to follow in the footsteps of those who created it in the first place? As bad as things are, they will get much, much worst if we fail to do the hard thing and fix the problem.
    On a related issue: I love the way people use phrases like "undocumented aliens" etc... they are here ILLEGALLY, therefore, they are criminals. When you fail to enforce the law, you are condoning whatever criminal behavior you are turning a 'blind eye' towards.
    And we wonder why things keep getting worst.....

  • Draped_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The problem is you get an illegal, you call ICE and they say take his information and we'll get someone on it...Now how long do you think this person is going to stay at the address now??? We need better leigislation as justlogic says....

  • Hand_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Let me explain this to some of you that don't get it. Lets say there is witness to a child's kidnapping or even to the shooting of an officer and this witness fears being asked about citizenship. You would never know the witness existed and the pos never caught. There are better ways to identify illegals. We need better legislation. Having to prove citizenship when getting a drivers licenses would go a long way in helping, along with a separate license for legal aliens.

  • Battering-ram-full_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It may promote some illegal coming forward as witnesses, without fear of being arrested. Besides, that's what DHS/ICE is for

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Is simply asking somebody, "Where are you from?" considered the same thing?

  • Carbon_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    They have to weigh both point of view and see which one weighs more..

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    I assume that is why Reagan legalized illegals, and George W. attempted to. In that way, we wouldn't have any illegals!!

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