(Los Angeles) – As part of my longstanding commitment to public safety, I have worked over the past nine months to give the Los Angeles Police Department additional tools to combat criminal gang members. Last April, I introduced a Council motion asking LAPD to modify its immigration policy known as Special Order 40. This policy prevents officers from questioning people solely to determine their immigration status or arresting them only for violations of immigration law.
My proposal called for amendments to Special Order 40 to require that LAPD officers notify federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities of known gang members who are in this country illegally. The motion also affirmed that LAPD has a responsibility and duty to turn over criminals who are illegal immigrants to ICE.
Last October, my motion received a hearing in the Public Safety Committee. I invited former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates to that meeting to discuss the original intent of Special Order 40, which he authored in the late 1970s. Through his testimony and that of current LAPD officials, many common misunderstandings about the Department's policy were brought to light.
The truth is that Special Order 40 does allow Los Angeles Police Officers to inquire about immigration status if a crime has been committed. The order does not prevent officers from arresting a violent suspect or calling in federal agents to investigate a person they believe illegally reentered the U.S. after deportation. In fact, Department policy outlines how officers should work with ICE to enforce federal immigration warrants.
At that October hearing, LAPD representatives testified that all officers would be re-trained to clarify that Special Order 40 does not prohibit them from obtaining the type of information I called for in my motion. Department officials further stated that they would report back to the City Council in January with the details of their new training procedures.
I am pleased to announce that the LAPD has indeed issued new training documents regarding Special Order 40. However, we have reached the end of January and the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, still has not allowed this critical issue to receive a follow-up hearing. The Department's modified training can only be successful if it is fully and openly discussed with the general public. That is why I feel I must share this information now.