As some states, and federal officials, look to put local police forces onto the front lines of immigration enforcement, police chiefs are speaking out against the plan.

Because San Jose’s police chief is being forced to lay off officers, he needs the support of the community and others to help deliver the police’s services to the public. By using his officers to go after illegal immigrants, the fear is that the community would come to associate his officers with the dangers of deportation.

A few years ago, the Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, launched a program of outreach to the undocumented population in Utah. He sought their assistance to identify the criminals in their populations. By overlooking the immigration status of a person filing a complaint or calling in a tip, he was able to help eradicate the dangers lurking in the shadow community.

For San Jose, where the department is looking to rebuild challenged relationships with the Latino community, a good next step could be following the Chief’s approach.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

As some states like Utah look to put cops on the front lines of immigration enforcement, San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore and other prominent law enforcement officials warned Wednesday that using their shrinking pool of officers to target illegal immigrants is inefficient, costly and would make their cities more dangerous, not less.

“I am looking at laying off 300 officers, so now more than ever I need to focus on partnerships with communities,” Moore said during a national teleconference sponsored by the Police Executive Research Forum. “This (the issue of immigration enforcement) has become a wedge in our communities and we need to remove that wedge.”

The teleconference was part of a larger public effort by some high-profile police executives to communicate to political leaders and people that the increasing calls for more aggressive and local immigration enforcement efforts could adversely affect them.

Read the full article here.