SAN DIEGO – San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne came out publicly in support of a controversial state bill known as the Trust Act.
The Trust Act would prohibit state and local law enforcement officers from assisting federal immigration agents by keeping undocumented people, arrested for non-serious crimes, detained, so the feds can come and deport them.
Chief Lansdowne decided to endorse the bill after a national survey released earlier this year found Latinos were 44 percent less likely to report crimes to police – 70 percent if they’re undocumented.
“There is a belief, that if they report crime, somebody gets deported because of that,” he said.
Lansdowne said the Trust Act would help fight that trend.
“We need to keep the understanding that if you report crime [the police] will provide the services they need to reduce the crime,” he said. “Our responsibility is to provide safety to everybody.”
He also said it’s also an issue of cost.
“The federal government needs to take that responsibility and they’re shifting that load or at least trying to shift that load to local law enforcement. We don’t have the personnel for that,” Lansdowne said.
He joins several other law enforcement agencies, including the Chula Vista police and the L.A. County Sheriff, all who are supporting the bill.
Others said the measure puts officers in a tough spot, allowing them to disobey federal agents, asking for their assistance.
The Escondido Police Department has been accused of purposely arresting undocumented immigrants for low level offenses and assisting in their deportation. They did not return our calls for comment on this story.
The bill is currently making its way through the California Senate.