From Chief Smith's blog: KCPD thrust into national immigration debate

Publish Date 07/24/2019
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There has been much discussion and debate surrounding the July 22 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop that was filmed and shared on Facebook live. I think it’s important to say upfront that the Kansas City Missouri Police Department does not do proactive immigration enforcement. That’s not our role. We do, however, respond to calls of people who need us all day, every day. 

The call that came in from ICE agents asking for help on July 22 was entered into our dispatch system just like any call from the public, and officers responded as they would to any other call. We regularly assist outside agencies working in our city who ask for back-up, from sheriff’s deputies to federal agents. We don’t get to decide what calls we respond to. We just go. That’s our duty. 

It is not our duty or prerogative to enforce immigration laws. Our policy clearly states, “Only immigration officers have the authority to detain and arrest suspected undocumented/unauthorized foreign nationals for violations of the immigration laws.” We are compelled by Missouri Statute 67.307, however, to “cooperate with state and federal agencies and officials on matters pertaining to enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration.” 

In the July 22 incident, several KCPD officers responded to ICE’s request for assistance regarding a man they were attempting to arrest who would not exit his vehicle. We would assist any local, state, or federal law enforcement agency who faced the same situation and had jurisdiction in our city. Responding KCPD personnel made many attempts to de-escalate the situation. You can see in the video the very respectful way the primary sergeant at the scene spoke with the man in the car and with his family after the arrest. His calming presence is part of the reason that KCPD officers respond to assist outside agencies. Our officers know their communities. They know their problems and fears. We believe the presence of KCPD personnel was a stabilizing factor in this incident. ...