The president of the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police, Boaz Police Chief Terry Davis, said he’s trying to understand what the law requires, but he’s not giving any special advice to chiefs yet.
The executive director of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association, Bobby Timmons, said he plans to conduct a school for sheriffs and deputies on what the law requires.
The law has been described by opponents and supporters as the toughest in the country. It is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, but U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn in Birmingham has not ruled on lawsuits seeking to block all or parts of it.
Davis said he doesn’t plan to make a lot of changes in how his police officers operate. He said if officers stop someone who is in the country illegally they would follow the law, but they “will not stop people just because they are Hispanic.”
The law allows police to detain someone after a routine traffic stop if they suspect the person to be in the country illegally. The law also makes it a crime to knowingly provide transportation or shelter to an illegal immigrant.
“We’re just going to do our job. We’re not going to go out and stop people just because they’re Hispanic,” Davis said. “I don’t think being Hispanic is illegal.”
Timmons said the law specifically prohibits law enforcement officers from profiling and he said he has passed on that message to sheriffs.
“We’ve told them absolutely no profiling,” Timmons said.
Unless it is blocked by the federal judge, Timmons said he has told sheriffs to “enforce the law just like it’s written” when it takes effect on Sept. 1. He said he was working with Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning, president of the sheriff’s association, to set up the training. He said he would go over specifics of the law with sheriffs after Blackburn releases her ruling and make sure they understand what’s still in it and what, if anything, the judge has blocked.
What do you think about laws that give Law Enforcement the right to detain someone after a routine stop if they believe that the person (s) is in the country illegally?