LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – Police Chief Steve Conrad and Mayor Greg Fischer announced a new policy that lays out the city’s role in working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
The new policy, whenever immigration officials call for assistance from Metro Police, a commanding officer will handle the call, assess what level of help, if any, is appropriate, and join officers to the scene if they are dispatched.
Officers will be dispatched in three instances:
• when there is a criminal (not immigration status) warrant;
• when crime has occurred or is occurring;
• or in an emergency situation, when there is a clear public danger.
Police will not respond to requests to help ICE in enforcing federal laws, like knocking on doors to clear a house or apartment.
The policy comes after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a report that revealed 23 times during a six-month period when Louisville Metro Police officers responded after immigration officials called MetroSafe/911 seeking assistance. Those 23 calls were among about a total of 275,000 calls for service to LMPD in that period.
The change in policy comes after a report, published by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, showed 23 times in a six-month period when Metro officers responded after immigration officials called MetroSafe/911 seeking help. The 23 calls were amidst a total of 275,000 calls for service to LMPD during that time.
Fischer asked Conrad to review those calls and discuss with ICE officials on their process before creating the new policy.
The new policy safeguards an extra layer of scrutiny by a commanding officer and greater transparency in handling such calls. The calls between a commanding officer and an ICE official will be recorded to ensure ultimate transparency.
“LMPD enforces local laws, and we leave federal enforcement to federal agencies,” said Chief Conrad. “When people need help, they need to know they can call on us to help them.”
Fischer said the following on the report from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
“The news report pointed out a gap in our policies, and the Chief acted quickly to address it.”
In addition to the policy change, Metro Police released a video aimed at easing fears that members of the immigrant community may have about local police enforcing immigration status. The video features several officers underscoring, in various languages, the Chief’s message that officers responding to calls for assistance do not ask about immigration status, and urging the public to call police when they need help or have information about a crime.
“We are committed to our mission to protect and serve this community – this commitment extends to everyone who calls Louisville home, regardless of their immigration status,” Conrad said.
© 2017 WHAS-TV