A Virginia police officer was suspended after he turned over a suspected illegal alien to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following a traffic accident last month.
In Fairfax County, Va., that’s a no-no—even if the suspected illegal immigrant got into the accident while driving without a license. The officer—who has been on the job for several years—will now have to undergo remedial training so he doesn’t make this mistake again.
Virginia police officer suspended after turning illegal alien over to ICE https://t.co/HjAuYDDNNJ
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“This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused,” Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said. “We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”
The incident occurred in Alexandria on Sept. 21, according to Fox News.
The officer discovered one of the drivers didn’t have a Virginia driver’s license and ran a check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, police said. The check revealed the driver had a violation for failing to appear for a deportation hearing.
The officer verified the warrant and alerted ICE, who quickly sent an agent to the scene of the accident.
After citing the driver for not having a driver’s license, the officer turned him over to the ICE agent.
Fairfax County PD enacted a policy in 2007 that prohibits officers from taking individuals into custody based on civil violations of immigration law.
Roessler apologized for the officer’s “lapse in judgement,” according to Fox, and ordered an internal investigation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE,” he said. The law abiding residents of Fairfax Country were not asked for comment.
In a statement [posted in part below] on the Fairfax County PD website, Roessler wrote that the matter “damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents.”
Since 2007, the FCPD General Order 601-Arrest procedures (VIII c. 5. e.) is very clear on this matter:
If the response reads “OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATIVE WARRANT OF REMOVAL” and the individual is not in custody or being taken into custody for any other violation of law, officers shall not confirm the hit through LESC and shall not take the individual into custody based solely upon the IVF hit. The majority of such administrative warrants represent civil violations of immigration law.
In addition, training at our Academy, as clearly outlined in lesson plans, as well as in-service training reinforces to our personnel that we do not enforce nor detain for administrative warrants and we have no authority to enforce federal law. We have also been working closely with community members and advocates to review our General Orders in this regard.
As a matter of full transparency to our community – our police officer violated our longstanding policy and deprived a person of their freedom, which is unacceptable. We have been informed by ICE that the driver was released after three hours and issued an ankle monitor. When I learned of this event, I directed an immediate internal investigation to look at all factors in this matter to ensure that all are held accountable for this violation. Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE. This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents. The officer involved in this event has been relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of this investigation. It is my duty to enforce our FCPD – and Fairfax County – policies and hold all accountable for their actions.