DeKalb county police is not an immigration authority

by Yolanda DeLong, The Atlanta Latino, March 24, 2005

With the rapid growth of DeKalb Countyís Hispanic population, on March 15 DeKalb County police chief Louis Graham called a meeting of Latino leaders to discuss public order issues affecting the community.

Graham sent a message to the Hispanic community and urged them to get more involved, saying that the most important step was to get over the fear of reporting crimes and then recognize that the countyís police officers are there to support society, combat crime, and help address and solve public order problems.

Graham said that police officers are not responsible for investigating the immigration status of individuals, which is the task of immigration officers, and said that immigrants [illegal aliens] should come to the police for help when they need it. Some community leaders said that the biggest problem in establishing communication between the police department and the community isnít just the language barrier, but also the cultural differences. Sora Chavez McFarlane, director of Hispanic outreach for the Republican Party in Georgia, said to Graham that hiring bilingual officers would be a good solution, but another positive move would be to teach cultural diversity classes to encourage closer interaction and build a trust between Hispanics and the department....

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