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Salt Lake City Police Chief Brown signs letter reaffirming department does not do immigration raids

FILE - In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. Advocacy groups and unions are pressuring Marriott, MGM and others not to house migrants who have been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. But the U.S. government says it sometimes needs bed space, and if hotels don’t help it might have to split up families. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown is one of 50 police chiefs and Sheriffs from across the country who have signed a letter reassuring immigrants that their departments do not participate in federal immigration raids.

The signers decided to write the letter, which is in Spanish, following a recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas where the shooter seemingly targeted Hispanics, as well as a high profile immigration raid at a chicken processing plant in Mississippi.

The letter has been posted to the Salt Lake Police Department’s Twitter account.

It reads, in part,

“Our primary job is to maintain public safety. To do that, we need your trust. We want you to feel safe in our communities and comfortable calling law enforcement to report crimes, serving as witnesses, and asking for help in emergencies. When you feel safe and comfortable reaching out to us, we can keep everyone safer.

We need and are committed to protecting everyone in our communities. We cooperate with federal law enforcement to respond to threats in our communities — when our safety is at stake. But immigration enforcement is, first and foremost, a federal responsibility. We want to focus our limited state and local resources on threats to public safety and security.”

Salt Lake Police Detective Michael Ruff says this has been the policy of the department for at least 10 years, and the letter is not directed at any one politician.

Ruff says they want victims to feel comfortable coming forward. If they do not, criminals could escape from capture.

“If it’s something where we have an individual who may be preying on more than one person, that could mean that we have them having these crimes happen over and over again,” Ruff says.