Unified Action – February 2012 – Fair Policies for the Sheriff’s Office

Sponsored by the Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy and Services of Southern New Mexico (TIAS-NM)
For more information call Sarah Nolan at 575-520-1624.

When you have finished this action, please send an “I did it!” to unifiedaction@pva-nm.org.

What we are asking

Urge the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office to adopt standard operating procedures that protect people’s rights regardless of where they live or what they look like.

Attend

Doña Ana County Commission Meeting
Tuesday, February 28, 9 to 10 a.m.
Doña Ana County Government Building
845 N. Motel Blvd.

and/or

Email the Doña Ana County Commissioners

Billy G. Garrett, District 1 bgarrett@Donaanacounty.org
Dolores Saldaña-Caviness, District 2 dcaviness@Donaanacounty.org
Karen Perez, Chair, District 2 kperez@Donaanacounty.org
Scott A. Krahling, Vice Chair, District 4 skrahling@Donaanacounty.org
Leticia Duarte-Benavidez, Distgrict 5 lbenavidez@Donaanacounty.org

Let them know that you support revising the standard operating procedures so that deputies are prohibited from asking about immigration status during a routine traffic stop or encounter. The standard operating procedures should protect people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like. Suggested text for your email is below, but make your letter personal; explain how this issue affects you.

The Issue

For several years people in Anthony, Chaparral, Hatch, and Las Cruces have had encounters where Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies have asked them their immigration status during routine stops. Deputies have detained people for longer than the reason of the initial stop. ICE or Border Patrol officers have been seen riding in patrol cars with deputies. Deputies have questioned the validity of documents and testimonies of people who are victims or witnesses of crimes.

These practices are creating an unsafe environment in the communities of Doña Ana County. When victims or witnesses of crimes are afraid to call the police, public safety for all is undermined.

The standard operating procedure that gives guidance to deputies should be revised to ban the practice of asking for immigration status during a routine encounter. Doña Ana County Sheriffs Office should follow the examples of Hidalgo, Luna, and Otero counties, and adopt procedures that protect people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like.

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office has told the Taskforce for Immigrant Advocacy Services (TIAS-NM) that revising the standard operating procedures is not a priority for their office.

TIAS will make a presentation to the Doña Ana County Commissioners on February 28 at 9:15 a.m. Representatives of the coalition will be asking the sheriff and the assistant county attorney to revise the standard operating procedures to prohibit deputies from asking about immigration status during the course of a routine traffic stop or encounter.

Sample Letter

Subject: Revision of Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office standard operating procedures is a priority

Dear County Commissioners,

The standard operating procedures that give guidance to Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies should be revised. The procedures should protect people’s rights to be treated fairly and equally regardless of where they live or what they look like.

There is a growing number of reports that deputies are asking about immigration status during routine traffic stops or that officers are questioning the validity of documents and testimonies of people who report crimes. These reports cause victims and witnesses of crime to become afraid to call the police.

If law enforcement officers do not develop and maintain trust with the community they serve, then public safety is undermined.

Please ask the county attorney’s office to provide revised standard operating procedures to Sheriff Garrison within a month. The revised procedures should prohibit deputies from asking about immigration status during a routine traffic stop or encounter. Hidaldgo, Luna, and Otero counties have adopted procedures that protect people’s rights. Doña Ana County should do the same.

Thank you,

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