How about a heads up guys? E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

One of the things that really bothers local law enforcement professionals is when a federal agency stages some kind of operation or another without doing the locals the basic courtesy of letting them know they’ll be in town at such and such and address at such and such time. Considering the number of strong-arm robberies committed these days by those dressed up as cops or federal agents, letting the cops know where and when they’ll be in town isn’t just professional courtesy- it can be an officer safety issue.

According to a recent article in the Times of Trenton, a47-year-old man was taken into custody during an unannounced federal immigration raid recently. The lack of communication and courtesy isn’t sitting well with the local cops. They’re trying to improve relations with the Latino community and this kind of thing doesn’t exactly help.

A team of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested Jose Ramirez, 47, on a deportation warrant, Princeton police Captain Nick Sutter said. The warrant came after Ramirez allegedly failed to appear in court four years ago for a deportation hearing, Sutter said.

Sutter told reporters police only found out about the raid after Ramirez’s housemate called police expressing concern for Ramirez’s well-being after three or four males in plain clothes with badges came to the house, removed Ramirez and left in a gray SUV and a black car.

ICE officers did not notify local police prior to the operation, a courtesy usually extended to the department, Sutter said.

“We’ve always been notified in the past by any agency, federal or otherwise, conducting operations in our community,” Sutter told the Times.

“It’s what I would consider a common law enforcement safety practice.”

Sutter said Princeton officers were dispatched to the house and scrambled to call other law enforcement agencies that could have been conducting operations.

Police obviously wanted to rule out a crime in progress as quickly as possible, Sutter said.

The unannounced operation is part of a pattern of concerns raised by officials and local activists who say that the town’s immigrant community does not trust its police force precisely due to the immigration enforcement issue- a seriously hot and political potato.

But that’s an issue for local law enforcement and other officials.

“I don’t want to get involved in a political debate,” Sutter said, “but from a local law enforcement perspective, it doesn’t help us in our efforts and in our outreach to the Hispanic community.

“We’re trying to prove that we’re not involved in these types of operations,” he said.

Councilwoman Heather Howard said that ICE operation and lack of notification was “very frustrating”.

“It undermines the relationship with the police and the local community,” she said.

The relationship between the town’s police department and its growing Hispanic population has long been a growing concern for town officials.

That concern was highlighted after a recently conducted community survey by the police department yielded zero responses from Spanish speakers.


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