LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck today announced proposed changes in the way his department handles requests from the federal government to detain arrestees for possible deportation, saying such detentions would not be appropriate for ``low-grade misdemeanor offenses'' and other similar crimes.
``Community trust is extremely important,'' Beck said. ``It's my intent that we gain that trust back.''
Beck said he believes some of the detentions that have been carried out had unnecessarily split up families.
Under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities program -- known as S-Comm -- that was signed into federal law on Sept. 30, 2008, ``ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety and repeat immigration violators,'' Beck said.
``The LAPD is proposing to no longer grant an ICE Detainer Request without first reviewing the seriousness of the offense for which the person is being held, as well as their prior arrest history and gang involvement,'' Beck said.
Beck said the City Attorney's Office recently advised him that honoring the ICE detainer requests were at the discretion of local police departments. He said his department arrests about 105,000 people per year, and receives ICE detainer requests for about 3,400 of them. About half of those requests are for misdemeanors, and he said he believes about 400 of those requests would be denied by his department if the policy is approved.
The LAPD is developing a list of criminal offenses ``which in its view do not meet the intended purpose of the S-Comm program -- (such as) public nuisance and/or low-grade misdemeanor offenses,'' Beck said.
``Under the new proposal, individuals arrested for one of these low- grade misdemeanor offenses will not be subject to continued detention on the basis of an ICE Detainer Request absent additional information from ICE and/or prior felony arrest or arrests, or if the individual is a documented gang member,'' Beck said.
``The department will still honor detention requests on all felony and high-grade misdemeanor arrests,'' Beck said. ``Our goal is to implement the new protocols by Jan. 1, 2013.'' Read more at KFI News