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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.”


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  • Img_2502_max50

    arbn_soldier

    over 4 years ago

    82 Comments

    black, white,or brown the law is the law.dont violate it and you dont have to worry.

  • Img_2502_max50

    arbn_soldier

    over 4 years ago

    82 Comments

    this is B.S. what the hell is this country doin. they are protecting everybody else ,what about the real american citizens. we are long becoming the minority. this chief is kissing somebody's ass.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    THIS IS VERY WRONG VERY WRONG

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Well said TPD327

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    The prime word here is "citizen." If you are here illegally, you are not a "citizen." How often does a victim turn out to be a criminal based on solid investigative technique? Let's always serve and protect, but let's not forget our oath. PC run amok.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    chick_ingray

    over 4 years ago

    18 Comments

    ok lets get something straight here we all work to protect the citizens in our community, right? It shouldnt matter to us whether these people are immigrants or not our job is to help those in need and protect everyone regardless of immigration status

  • 119_1923_max50

    TPD327

    over 4 years ago

    396 Comments

    “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.”

    Next in an effort to get everyone to feel they can talk to us, we will no longer ask the drug dealers anything about their illegal activities. The same will go with burglars, car thieves, etc. We wouldn't want them to feel any fear of undue repercussions!

  • Badge__hat_max50

    Baxter2

    over 4 years ago

    1846 Comments

    More left wing lunacy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    That is wrong!

  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    over 4 years ago

    2380 Comments

    Here is the link to DPD's feedback page if anyone want's to give "Chief" Biehl a few words of wisdom

    http://www.cityofdayton.org/departments/police/Pages/Feedback.aspx

  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    over 4 years ago

    2380 Comments

    “Citizens must feel free to call for police services without fear of undue repercussions.”

    Hey Chief - You have to BE a CITIZEN for this statement to apply to you! Moron!

  • Cathy_2008_max50

    cathy_smitherman

    over 4 years ago

    958 Comments

    This is very wrong....

  • Erpd_swat_max50

    molineaux4068

    over 4 years ago

    156 Comments

    I love the statement "Citizens must feel free to call for police services without fear of undue repercussions." Isn't a Citizen a legal resident of this country? And someone who is not in this country legally breaking the law? Why not tell your troops "Hey guys, locking up people breaking the law isn't nice so just stop doing it."

  • Harley_flame_sign_max50

    TOPGLOCK45

    over 4 years ago

    206 Comments

    WELCOME TO B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T-

    Again this is what is wrong with America and people and officers are getting fed up with shit like this....VOTE THEM ALL OUT OF OFFICE IN NOVEMBER - AND THROW THE CHIEF OUT

  • John_groh_max50

    wiseass0282

    over 4 years ago

    10982 Comments

    Sounds like they need a new Chief.

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