On March 11th the HB Huddle held a “Resistance Training Event” to launch the ACLU’s new platform PeoplePower.org. One of the first orders of business from the ACLU was to set up a meeting with local law enforcement. Last Monday May 8 a small committee of volunteers met with HB Police Chief Handy.
Below are some notes from the meeting. The next step is for the group to meet again. If you’d like to be added to the email list contact Cynthia: cynmrom at yahoo.com
Purpose of Meeting:
The ACLU has asked us to become more aware of immigrants’ rights under constitutional law and find out what our city’s police department is doing in relation to enforcing immigration laws and working with ICE (the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement). We are concerned that the immigrant community has become afraid and intimidated by recent actions against immigrants. This makes our community less safe as members of the immigration community are afraid to report crimes or go to the police.
The ACLU has given out Nine “Model” State and Local Law Enforcement Policies and Rules to use in discussions with local law enforcement which we used as the basis of our discussions with Chief Handy.
Chief Handy gave us information on his background working with immigrant communities in the past. He previously worked in Phoenix, Arizona policing the West side of Phoenix which includes immigrant communities. He is used to balancing local policing and ICE. While he said that the HBPD has room to grow, he feels that the police department has been effective in policing the Oak View Community in Huntington Beach. As far as questioning local residents about their immigration status his policy is “Don’t ask, don’t care”. In some instances, the HBPD is required to work with the federal government. He does not believe that it is proper to over regulate and over react due to politician’s statements. The goal for the HBPD is to operate professionally and stay out of politics.
Model Policies and Rules
- The Judicial Warrant Rule
The ACLU has its own interpretation of the Constitution and local attorneys and cities have their own view. HBPD does not detain anyone solely on the basis of immigration status. In the case of a criminal investigation immigration status does get entangled, for example, in the case of cross border relationships involved in drug and other felony crimes.
We also discussed how ICE is identified as they frequently have clothing printed with “Police” on the back the same as for police department personnel. Per Chief Handy, this is a universal symbol used by all types of officers to identify themselves as legal officers so they are not mistaken as someone making illegal entries into homes, etc. Per Chief Handy, there is agreement among California Law Enforcement that ICE officers should never pose as police officers or try to make others think they are police officers.
The HBPD does not honor ICE requests to detain undocumented immigrants illegally.
The HBPD operates under the Trust and Truth Acts which are California laws.
- No Facilitation Rule
Chief Handy stated that he would not say they had never done this because under some circumstances a judicial warrant is not needed, but that would be if there is reason to believe someone may have committed a crime. Resources in Huntington Beach have been used at times to support ICE. These resources are not directly reimbursed but there are times when ICE will do things to help HBPD. There are limits to HBPD working with ICE as HBPD has declined to assist in any sweeps or round ups as these actions would lower the public’s trust in the HBPD. The HBPD follows policies for California in the Lexipol Policy System.
- Defined Access/Interview Rule
HBPD does not deny ICE access to the jail. If ICE wants to interview a prisoner regarding immigration status, the prisoner must sign a form to give permission for the interview. HBPD lets them know of their rights. Prisoners are usually in the HBPD jail for 12 hours or less. The prisoners are taken to the Orange County jail where they receive a medical clearance and they remain there until they are arraigned or there is other court action. The new local prosecutor does not affect where a prisoner is jailed.
- Clear Identification Rule
ICE must wear identification in the jail. They must be there for a specific purpose or to see a specific person in the jail, and must be part of a criminal investigation. ICE should not uses ruses when they talk to immigrants.
- Don’t Ask Rule
Officers are trained not to ask about immigration status although an immigrant might offer what their status is when talking to an officer during a criminal investigation. Chief Handy said that he did not know of a single instance where an officer had inquired about immigration status since he has been on the HBPD.
- Privacy Protection Rules
HBPD never does this. Most prisoners are out of the jail within 12 hours.
- Discriminatory Surveillance Prohibition Rule
HBPD follows the Trust Act and Truth Act. These kinds of actions are never done.
- Redress Rule
Complaints can be made to the Police Department or City Council. The results are given to the initiator of the complaint but not what the form of discipline is. The HBPD is in the process of getting body cameras. There are now 50 body cameras.
- Fair and impartial policing rule
HBPD would not do this as it is unconstitutional. Officers are trained not to ask about immigration status.