Denver’s immigration ordinance has had a chilling effect on police operations, especially when investigating immigrants who are dealing heroin, the Denver police union’s president told a congressional committee on Thursday, reports the Denver Post. Nick Rogers, president of the Denver Police Protective Association, told a U.S. House judiciary committee that he and other narcotics detectives can no longer share intelligence with federal ICE agents or call them for assistance because of the ordinance. “This ordinance has created …a city that is much less safe than it was prior to this ordinance,” he said. Rogers’ stance puts him and the police union, which represents 1,350 officers, in conflict with the Denver Police Department administration and Mayor Michael Hancock.
The city’s leaders insist its law enforcement has no business enforcing federal immigration laws. Rather,they say its police officers need to build relationships in the immigrant community to help prevent crime and enforce state and local criminal laws. The ordinance does not restrict officers from cooperating with federal authorities in criminal investigations or prevent sheriff’s deputies from holding people who are in the country illegally if ICE agents have an arrest warrant, Deputy Police Chief Matt Murray said. “Our job is to prosecute criminals, not deal with a person’s civil status in this country. We respect that ICE has that job and they do that job. We don’t inhibit them from doing their job.We just don’t participate,” Murray said.