Denver Police Dept. immigration memo doesn't mean this is a sanctury city, spokesman says
KHOW's Peter Boyles has obtained an April 25 memo from Denver Police Chief Gerald Whitman that reads in part, "EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, DENVER POLICE OFFICERS SHALL NO LONGER ADD A CHARGE OF OR WRITE 'REFER TO IMMIGRATION' ON ARREST OR CHARGING DOCUMENTS." But while Boyles sees the directive as proof Denver is a "sanctuary city," a DPD spokesman insists it means nothing of the sort.
The memo begins by pointing out that the City and County of Denver is participating in Safe Communities, a Department of Homeland Securities Program designed to address illegal immigration. Whitman then writes that "new DSD [Denver Sheriff's Department] procedures" negate requirements from the police department's operation manual that when a suspect believed to be an undocumented immigrant is arrested, a "Refer to Immigration" note should be added to the other charge or charges. At that point, the Sheriff's department would contact the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch.
So... what are those new DSD procedures? According to Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson, they call for Sheriff's department personnel to routinely run everyone through the ICE system when they go to jail -- which means a "Refer to Immigration" add-on from the police would be redundant and unnecessary. In his words, "we used to do it, but now the Sheriff's department will take care of that. The officer on the street won't do it. The Sheriff's department will when they go to jail.
"It doesn't really change anything," he maintains, "and it doesn't have anything to do with being a sanctuary city."
Here's the complete memo:
More from our Immigration archive: "Colorado immigration partnership with feds wrongly focusing on non-criminals, study says."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.