In recent weeks, national politics and some irresponsibility by some folks are causing challenges to local law enforcement.
The demonization of federal law enforcement agencies in recent weeks has a trickle down effect on the ability of local police to do their jobs. The trust, goodwill and outreach campaigns from our public safety agencies can be immediately dashed when fear of law enforcement is used and people are told to “not open your doors” if law enforcement comes to your homes as a means of advancing political agendas. A basic premise is that if someone has not done anything wrong they have nothing to worry about.
“Police” is a universal identification for local, state and federal agencies. It is a term people know and understand. Few people will differentiate between a uniformed local or federal agent with a badge and vest who is knocking on their door.
At the local level, our police department responds to all calls and are not agents for federal agencies, including ICE. In California, SB 54 strictly prohibits our police from asking for immigration forms or status. No matter the call, local law enforcement is there to protect and serve persons, regardless of documentation status. Period.
Some of the greatest targets and victims of crime are recent immigrants. These folks should not fear law enforcement but know that they can and will be protected and they should report crimes which happen to them. Police are here to help them and should not have any reservations on calling for our help.
We really feel for the men and women in the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who are getting a really raw deal in the current political climate. Both are very important agencies (with incredible people working for them) with core missions which protect us all. These law enforcement agents have taken oaths to uphold and defend laws and our constitution. They are sworn protectors who risk their lives in the same vein as our local police officers and public safety personnel. They can be put in some of the most dangerous situations in law enforcement.
We want people to know that Winters police and those in law enforcement are here to help all people, regardless of documentation. Our goal is service to all residents in our community and people should have no concerns when reporting crime or requesting the aide of the police.
Winters City Manager
Winters Police Chief