Saturday, June 10, 2017


A new Maplewood Police operational order directing cops on how to implement the Township's new sanctuary city-like "welcoming community" resolution walks a fine line between enforcing existing laws, but clearly protecting immigrant rights.

The order summary, released Wednesday by Township Committee Member Greg Lembrich, follows the TC's approval of resolution in January that vows to protect immigrant rights and not engage in efforts to enforce immigration laws against Maplewood residents.

Since the adoption of that resolution, which specifically avoids using the term "sanctuary city," police and township officials have been working on the operational order that guides the resolution's implementation. 

Among its highlights:

The Maplewood Police Department's overriding mission is to enforce state and local criminal laws and to protect the community it serves. That mission has not been, nor will it be, the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Maplewood Police Department shall comply with the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, New Jersey Attorney General Directives, and Federal and State Nondiscrimination Laws; shall not take any actions that profile individuals or groups based on religion, race, ethnicity, national origin or immigration status; and shall not engage in racially-influenced policing as defined in New Jersey Law Enforcement Directive No. 2005-1.
As mandated by the Township Committee, no Maplewood Township department, employee, or official shall take part in the registration or reporting of individuals based on religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status.
The Operational Order confirms that the Maplewood Police Department's overriding mission is to enforce state and local criminal laws and to protect the community it serves, and not to administer federal immigration laws. The Federal Government is the authority responsible for enforcement of immigration law.

But while most of the operational order states that police will not aid in the tracking, profiling or reporting of suspect undocumented immigrants, it includes a provision that directs police to provide assistance to federal authorities when needed to maintain order and enforce other laws. It states, in part:

The Maplewood Police Department shall provide the appropriate, legally required level of assistance to federal authorities for immigration law enforcement, consistent with the provisions of the Operational Order and only when requested or for a non-immigration enforcement public safety emergency.
The Operational Order sets forth the procedure to be followed when an officer receives a request from I.C.E. for police assistance in an enforcement operation.  The request shall be referred to a Shift Commander. 
The Shift Commander, in consultation with a Captain and/or the Chief of Police, shall review the request and direct the proper police assistance based on the potential affects to the prevailing public safety circumstances.
For the purpose of tactical and safety reasons, officer(s) will be assigned to accompany the federal agents to the location of the enforcement activity, but shall not take an active arrest role in the immigration enforcement action.  Maplewood Police Officers shall not enter a structure to arrest, or interview, or otherwise participate in an immigration enforcement action inside of any location, but may, in the interest of public safety, provide emergency police presence or assistance in case of a disturbance or other public safety concern that may arise as a result of the immigration enforcement action.

See the entire operational order HERE.

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