Chief Koval's Blog

Immigration Reform is about Community Safety and Public Trust

February 11, 2015 2:24 PM

This blog was authored by Assistant Chief Randy Gaber.

For the past year, I have had the opportunity and privilege of representing the Madison Police Department in a group of law enforcement officers from around the country that has looked at why we need to replace our broken immigration system. Shortly after returning from a meeting of this group in Washington, D.C., last year, I authored a blog outlining some of the issues presented along with some of the challenges that were before us as a law enforcement agency and as a community. You can read this blog at http://www.cityofmadison.com/police/chief/blog/?Id=3756.

On Jan. 27 we launched the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force (http://immigrationforum.org/blog/law-enforcement-leaders-launch-immigration-task-force/). This task force comprises more than 30 law enforcement executives from across the country who have come together to provide input and direction on the issue of commonsense immigration reform. The Madison Police Department has been a prominent member of this task force signing onto both an Amicus Brief in opposition of a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against the President's Deferred Action Initiative and in opposition of the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, previously introduced in the 113th Congress as H.R. 2278. You can find links to both of these documents at http://www.scribd.com/doc/252438698/Law-Enforcement-Amicus-2015-01-12 and http://immigrationforum.org/blog/law-enforcement-immigration-task-force-letter-on-safe-act/

Unfortunately, over the past year we have seen a great deal of political pingpong on this issue, and that truly jeopardizes our ability to make meaningful and timely changes to a broken immigration system. The members of the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force along with the National Immigration Forum have worked hard to try and identify these challenges and also support actions that will unite our country on immigration reform.

I wanted to share with you the task force's principles, which I feel are pertinent to moving forward in a manner that brings us all to a better place with the current and future status of immigration here in the United States.

  • When immigrants feel safe in their communities, we are all safer. Immigrants should feel safe in their communities and comfortable calling upon law enforcement to report crimes, serving as witnesses, and calling for help in emergencies.
  • State and local law enforcement should target criminals, not contributing members of the community. Likewise, federal law enforcement should refocus its priorities toward catching serious criminals and security threats.
  • A larger legal workforce encourages respect for the rule of law. Reforming the legal immigration system is the simplest way to promote compliance by both workers and employers.
  • Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. Immigration enforcement on the state and local levels diverts limited resources from public safety and undermines trust within immigrant communities.
  • State and local law enforcement need adequate resources. To the extent that state and local law enforcement play a role in immigration enforcement, the federal government must provide adequate funding in line with these responsibilities.

More on these principles is available here: http://immigrationforum.org/blog/leitf-principles/

The Madison Police Department has a long history with treating all members of our community with dignity and respect. It is a cornerstone of what we do and is embedded in our core values (below). I am troubled when I hear of pending legislation that focuses on low-level offenders, discourages victims from reporting crimes (especially domestic violence), and directs local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws. This moves us farther away from creating safe neighborhoods and establishing trust-based relationships with our community -- a philosophy and approach that I have embraced and have seen work effectively throughout my 28-plus years in law enforcement. In my opinion, this approach is non-negotiable when it comes to effective policing.

Over the next year, I will continue to represent the Madison Police Department and the City of Madison as we continue to provide input on common sense immigration reform in an effort to promote a community here in Madison where all of our residents feel engaged, empowered and safe.

Madison Police Department Core Values

  • Human Dignity – We acknowledge the value of all people and carry out our duties with dignity, respect and fairness to all.
  • Service – We strive to deliver a high degree of service in an unbiased manner.
  • Community Partnership – We believe that the police can only be successful in improving safety and the quality of life the community enjoys when police and members of the public work together to address issues directly.
  • Integrity – We are committed to performing our work with the highest degree of honesty, integrity and professionalism.
  • Continuous Improvement - We seek to continually improve ourselves, and the quality of our service to the community.
  • Diversity – We engage in continuous learning about different cultures, values and people. We promote mutual acceptance and inclusion of all.
  • Leadership – All employees are leaders. We value the talents, creativity and contributions of all employees.

 

 

Posted by: Chief Koval

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