LAPD Chief Beck 'a Leading Critic' of Arizona's Immigration Law
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Police chiefs from Arizona and all over the country are in Washington D.C. today seeking advice on SB 1070 from Attorney General Eric Holder. Arizona's new law, which requires police to look into the immigration status of people they stop, detain or arrest. The group, which includes LAPD's Chief Charlie Beck, are concerned the law could actually increase crime. The LA Times, which calls Beck "a leading critic" of the law, heard him speak at a press conference. “Legislation like this inhibits us from doing our jobs” and will dissuade immigrants from coming forward as victims and witnesses," explained Beck. "The fear of the police already inhibits immigrants from coming forward to a certain extent, but if you add this piece you increase the reluctance tenfold.”
In Los Angeles, officers operate under Special Order 40, which emphasizes that immigration status, in itself, is not a matter for police action. The idea is that anyone can come forward to police with information to help solve a crime. “If people don’t come forward to help the police solve and protect crime, no matter what their status, then we are doomed to failure," said Beck.
“The primary job of a local police department is not the enforcement of immigration status,” Beck continued. “The primary job of law enforcement is to protect the public and keep us free from crime.”
Special Order 40 was first introduced in 1979.