San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott made it clear at Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting that his officers will not cooperate with federal immigration agents during raids that are expected soon in Northern California.
“Our instructions have been clear in terms of our policies … SFPD will not assist in any federal immigration enforcement,” he said. “That’s the message we’re putting forward to make sure all our members understand our policies in the spirit of the laws here in our city.”
On Wednesday, the Chronicle reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, is planning to arrest some 1,500 undocumented immigrants in San Francisco and other Northern California cities.
It’s unclear when, exactly, the raids will happen.
Commissioner Petra DeJesus initially broached the topic.
“It’s putting a lot of fear in the community,” she said, asking Scott how he is preparing for the raids. “How do we calm the community?”
“It’s pretty clear — I don’t know how else to say it — we will not assist,” he said.
DeJesus also raised the issue of ICE agents wearing jackets that say “police” when they are not certified peace officers in the state of California. “If they’re not POST certified, they should not be calling themselves ‘police;’ they’re federal agents,” she said.
She wants the city to send a cease-and-desist letter to the immigration agency telling its officers not to wear clothing that says “police.” Instead, they should wear jackets that say “federal agent,” she said.
DeJesus’s point was supported by Commision President Julius Turman and Vice President Thomas Mazzucco.
“Right now, everyone’s been struggling for the last year and a half — certainly under the new watch with Chief Scott — to instill trust and confidence in the Latino community that the police is not there to harm them in any way, but to protect,” said Jim Salinas, a former police commissioner and head of San Francisco Latino Democratic Club.
“For the federal agents to come in here wearing those police vests certainly diminishes the ability for this police department to continue to build and instill the trust and confidence we have lost,” Salinas said.