Finding Refuge: Wyoming chief James Carmody on law enforcement, immigration

Police agencies at the local, state and federal level have been a part of the discussion on immigration.

WYOMING, MICH. - The Immigration and Customs Enforcement uniform looks similar to most local police uniforms -- a fact that Wyoming Police Department Chief James Carmody said only adds to the increasing fear among the community his fleet works to protect. 

President Donald Trump's tightening on immigration laws inevitably led to the increase of ICE raids throughout the country.

"As far as Wyoming Police Department, nothing's changed," Carmody said.

He said it's their mission to protect the people and keep criminals off the street, not to worry about immigration status.

"We've been doing that for a long time and don't plan to change anything any time soon," Carmody said.

Carmody explained that it is not the role of a local police department to enforce federal mandates, such as the president's executive order. A phone call to Wyoming Police Department with suspicion of an illegal alien will not get much traction unless there is criminal activity involved. 

"They better have more than that," Carmody said. "Simple as that.

"If somebody calls and says, 'I think my neighbor is undocumented' I would say, 'Thank you very much, your purpose in calling is what?'"

Carmody said if a member of his community has that sort of information verified with proof, they can contact ICE directly. 

There is an expectation, however, for local police departments to cooperate with federal agencies, like ICE. Carmody said they took an oath as police officers to uphold the law. 

"If [ICE] were to call and say, 'We need a couple uniformed officers to stand by,' we are going to do that. Most every station in the country is going to do that," Carmody said. "We are not unique in that ... we support each other."

Carmody said people are quick to forget that ultimately it is also ICE's job to get criminals off the streets. 

"I don't care where you are a from, a criminal is a criminal is a criminal," he said.

But the issue of undocumented people who are productive members of the community, Carmody says, is a whole other matter that the government needs to address.

"The problem is that people have missed the point ... nothing is going to change here at the state or local level," Carmody said.

The chief said their department is in contact with members of ICE and other federal agencies just as much as they were prior to the signing of the Executive Order. Once a month, all representatives from federal agencies along with all the county chiefs and sheriffs meet and share information.

Carmody said he feels no pressure from the federal entities. 

Although, there is now a report released on a weekly basis by ICE that highlights jurisdictions who release incarcerated persons who are also undocumented.

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