The following comes from this week’s Mission Station Newsletter, by SFPD Captain Stephen Tacchini:
Last week I attended a meeting of the Immigrant Rights Commission. The meeting was well attended and produced several interesting and provocative questions. Some speakers indicated reluctance to request or utilize public safety services due to their immigration status in this country. They expressed a lack of confidence that if they called the Police, they would be subject to being detained for Immigration officials, or identified for later enforcement of immigration laws.
Since this newsletter is translated into Spanish, I feel it is important
to clearly state that the San Francisco Police Department does not take
into consideration a person’s immigration status unless that person is
under arrest for a felony. I am including the policy of the San
Francisco Police Department below for clarification and dissemination in
the attempt to eliminate false perceptions that are in existence.
It is the policy of the San Francisco Police Department to foster trust
and cooperation with all people of this city and to encourage them to
communicate with San Francisco police officers without fear of inquiry
regarding their immigration status. It is also Department policy,
consistent with it obligations under state and federal law, to adhere to
the City of Refuge Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits the use of City
resources to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws
except in certain limited circumstances.
Public safety is something that is essential to all persons and when
accessed will result in a better sharing of information related to the
incidence of crime and assist in crime prevention as well as
identification of criminals. I encourage all persons regardless of
their immigration status to utilize the excellent law enforcement
services available to you in the Mission District and elsewhere in San
Francisco. It is important for the police to have as much information
about criminal activity as well as community needs/problems as possible.
That information is important for us to be successful in implementing
effective programs to abate crime, provide education and resource
information, and to establish a trusting and respectful relationship
with the members of all communities.
Please encourage those persons who have been misinformed, that police
services are available and there should be no fear to access those
services, based upon their immigration status in this country.
I respect criticism delivered for the purpose of improvement, encourage suggestions made for the good of all, and welcome involvement from those who care enough to share the burden of trying to make a difference.