Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 12:33 am | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Police Chief Stands By Department’s Existing Immigration Policies

Chief Lori Luhnow says officers don't, and won't, make arrests based solely on an individual's immigration status

Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow — flanked by Sgt. Rashun Drayton, Santa Barbara Youth council member Cindy Diaz and Westside Community Group member Donn Longstreet — on Tuesday reaffirmed remarks she made at a community forum about her department’s policies toward immigration status. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow — flanked by Sgt. Rashun Drayton, Santa Barbara Youth council member Cindy Diaz and Westside Community Group member Donn Longstreet — on Tuesday reaffirmed remarks she made at a community forum about her department’s policies toward immigration status. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow released a statement Tuesday saying the department’s policies related to immigration enforcement have not changed as a result of the Nov. 8 presidential election, and that the SBPD “is committed to protecting everyone’s rights, regardless of immigration status.”

The topic came up at a community forum Monday night, and Luhnow said then that the department does not look at immigration status as part of its policing.

“We aren’t going to work well with federal guidelines asking for deportation,” she added.

She expanded on that in her statement Tuesday, saying she had heard from many community members who were afraid about the election’s impacts, particularly for local undocumented immigrants.

“In the past week, I have heard from many of our community members who have expressed to me their personal fears about the election results and its impact on our community, specifically as it relates to immigration enforcement and deportation,” she said in the statement, which she emphasized was intended to address community concerns — “specifically the fears of the parents, children and relatives of undocumented immigrants in our city who feel unsafe.”

“The Santa Barbara Police Department is committed to protecting everyone’s rights, regardless of immigration status,” she wrote. “Our department policies related to immigration have not changed as a result of recent elections. We will continue to arrest and seek prosecution of anyone who has committed a crime in Santa Barbara, but the immigration status alone of individuals in Santa Barbara is NOT a matter for police action.

“I believe we make progress in our community by embracing inclusive, thoughtful dialog and collaboration. In this way, our officers work diligently every day to build trust and nurture the legitimacy necessary to successfully, and collaboratively, provide public safety to our community.

“I am, and your police officers are, committed to providing service that meets our community values. I will continue to be present in our community and hear and be responsive to your concerns.”

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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