Friday, May 12, 2017
Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090
Howard County police are formalizing their long-standing practices on treatment of immigrants.
The order follows similar executive action taken in Baltimore County and elsewhere and clarifies that county police won’t ask for the immigration status of suspects, victims, witnesses or anyone else they encounter, and won’t alert federal authorities to arrest someone who is in the country illegally.
“We know this has been an issue of concern for some in our community,” police Chief Gary Gardner said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to reassure people in Howard County that our police department does not enforce civil violations of federal immigration laws.”
Under the policy, police will only ask about immigration status in rare cases of suspected criminal activity, including human trafficking, terrorism and gang violence investigations. An officer who violates the policy will be referred to internal affairs.
Police say County Executive Allan Kittleman had a major hand in issuing the new policy. Kittleman, a Republican, in February vetoed a measure that would have declared Howard County a “sanctuary county.” He said the bill created a false perception that county authorities were currently at odds with immigrants and offered a “false sense of security” to those in the country illegally.