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Center of the storm: 100 Police Chiefs Gather to Talk Immigration

by Patty Kupfer on 07/28/2009 at 9:20am

PoliceThe stories have barely begun before the frustration boils over.

Those of us who came to observe the convening see the nods and sense the recognition as more stories came out.  Police chiefs have journeyed from Mesa, AZ, Prince William County, VA, Salt Lake City, UT… from all across the US. It wasn’t at first obvious to an outsider what these police chiefs had in common, but after an hour’s worth of discussion it became clear:

They’ve all been caught at the center of an immigration fire storm, without ever choosing to be there.

Several police chiefs participating in the Police Executive Research Forum’s daylong summit on local immigration enforcement explained what it is like to be stuck in the middle. They described how local politicians pandering to an extreme base had created policies that severely compromised public safety. Chief George Gascon of Mesa, AZ, alluding to his battle with the Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his infamous neighborhood sweeps, lamented:

“I have seen the ugly side of this enforcement.”

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