‘Our officers shall not act as immigration agents…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A Virginia police officer was suspended pending an investigation, after he assisted Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers by detaining an illegal immigrant after a traffic accident.
The Fairfax County police officer discovered a man involved in a traffic accident was wanted by immigration authorities but had failed to appear at a deportation hearing.
He contacted ICE and detained the man until they arrived.
But because Fairfax County prohibits its police officers from working with ICE, the officer was suspended.
“This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused,” Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said, according to Fox News. “We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”
In 2017, the county police department issued a policy prohibiting officers from searching for and confirming a person’s immigration status.
It also prohibits officers from detaining a person solely based on violations of immigration law.
“Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE,” Roessler said.
Roessler added the officer didn’t intentionally violate the policy and will undergo remedial training.
“[There will be additional] training at our Academy, as clearly outlined in lesson plans, as well as in-service training reinforces to our personnel that we do not enforce nor detain for administrative warrants and we have no authority to enforce federal law,” Roessler said. “This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents. The officer involved in this event has been relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of this investigation.”