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Hailey passes resolution telling police officers not to inquire about someone's legal status unless necessary

Posted at 12:43 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 14:48:00-05

MAGIC VALLEY — The City of Hailey passed a resolution Monday night telling police officers and city personnel that they shouldn't ask for someone's legal documents when responding to calls.

The resolution also had the support of the Chief of Police for the Hailey City Police Department, Steve England.

"With this resolution, I firmly believe on behalf of the Hailey police department that people will hopefully feel more comfortable calling us. And calling whether it be 911 or the non-emergency number and having an officer respond to their location," England said.

City attorney, Christopher Simms, says this resolution aims to solve an issue the city had with undocumented people not reporting crimes for fear of deportation. The goal of this resolution is to build trust between law enforcement officers and the community.

"The problem to be solved, to put it bluntly, was the fear of deportation and the chilling effect that had on reporting crimes or the participating of formal prosecuting of crimes by withdrawing from testimonies," Simms said.

The resolution states police officers can only request documentation pertaining to a person's legal status if absolutely necessary or for investigation of criminal activity.

"So the overall purpose of this is within our police powers purview and promote public safety and prevention of violent crimes and other crimes in the community," Simms said.

Simms stated the resolution does not prohibit the police department from enforcing any laws.