STATEMENT BY SHERIFF JIM McDONNELL

Immigration and Enforcement Policies and the L.A. County Jails

May 11, 2015

The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for helping people in their time of need and investigating crimes that have occurred, regardless of the individual’s immigration status.  In achieving those objectives, our Department must work closely and cooperatively with federal authorities to identify and assist with the lawful investigation and prosecution of undocumented persons who pose a danger to our community; we must also bear in mind at all times the importance of preserving community relationships as well as the due process rights of those in our custody.

I welcome the opportunity to work with local, state and federal leaders as we develop policies and procedures that appropriately balance both promoting public safety and fortifying trust within the multiethnic communities that make up Los Angeles County. To that end, we are aiming to work with the Board offices, DHS and others to develop procedures and policies to identify the offenses that best reflect individuals in LASD custody who are a serious danger to our community and impact public safety. As to those individuals, we will work with federal authorities to notify them in advance and help facilitate a timely and seamless transfer to ICE custody prior to the individual’s release into the community.

The Sheriff’s Department must partner with some of the most diverse and immigrant-rich communities in the world.  Serving the community, reducing crime and solving problems is immeasurably harder if law enforcement fails to maintain relationships with -- and the trust of -- our community.  This is a basic principle of community policing.