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Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission suggests changes to MPD policy for working with ICE

Posted at 7:38 PM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-08 22:54:16-04

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has suggested changes to Milwaukee Police Department's procedure for working with ICE.

Milwaukee Police did not elaborate on the possible policy changes. They are currently under legal review by the Milwaukee City Attorney's Office.

The department has been under fire from immigrant rights groups, after they were involved in an arrest with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. On September 23rd, officers with the department assisted ICE in apprehending Jose De La Cruz, who was in violation of his probation and had an active federal warrant. That appeared to go against department policy that officers would not participate in immigration enforcement.

The Milwaukee Police Department released the following statement:

Over the past year, the Milwaukee Police Department has engaged extensively with the community about its immigration policy. For example, on November 12, 2018, Chief Alfonso Morales hosted a Town Hall Meeting with the Mexican Consulate regarding the department’s immigration policy. On November 20, 2018, the department participated in a Town Hall meeting held by former Fire and Police Commissioner Marisabel Cabrera regarding Standard Operating Procedure 130. On July 8, 2019, the Executive Staff of the Milwaukee Police Department met with Voces De La Frontera, the League of United Latin American Citizens and other immigration-related organizations to discuss their proposed changes to Standard Operating Procedure 130. On October 2, 2019, the department met with Voces De La Frontera and the Fire and Police Commission once again to discuss Standard Operating Procedure 130. In addition, numerous public and private meetings have been held to discuss modifications to Standard Operating Procedure 130. It is the department’s understanding that the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has submitted potential changes to SOP 130 to the Milwaukee City Attorney’s Office for legal review.

Reports of the recent incident with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should not be used to undermine these efforts. On Monday, September 23, 2019, the Milwaukee Police Department responded to a request for assistance from law enforcement officers from ICE. Officers assisted ICE in their apprehension of Mr. Jose De La Cruz, who was in violation of probation and had an active federal warrant. Mr. De La Cruz has a criminal history of firearms possession, delivery of controlled substances, battery, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, and obstructing. Officers from the Milwaukee Police Department were able to engage in active dialog with Mr. De La Cruz which de-escalated the situation and allowed him to be taken into custody without incident.

The Milwaukee Police Department does not engage in ICE sweeps and actively works with various immigrant communities to ensure their safety and security while living, working, and raising their families in the city of Milwaukee. This department will continue to engage the immigrant communities in an effort to reduce fear and we invite Voces De La Frontera to join us in our efforts.

The Milwaukee Police Department recognizes that policy does not decrease crime or reduce fear. Community engagement, community interaction and legitimate collaboration reduce crime and fear.