According to a story published only by KSL Channel 5 at the moment, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, is on public record as deliberately defying a legislative mandate. Chief Burbank says that he and SLCPD are opting out of Senate Bill 81, passed during the 2008 session and taking effect on July 1st, 2009. SB81 cracks down further on illegal immigration. Adding to the mix, the bill's House sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel (R-Kanab) proposes retaliation by cutting off some funding to SLCPD. And the comments section to the KSL story is ablaze with fury. KSL news story embedded below:
Chief Burbank doesn't think his officers should become immigration enforcers. He claims the law gives his department the right to opt out, saying, "To say that there is going to be retribution for us exercising what is written in the law, is our ability not to participate in this. There is nothing that mandates us in this law to take this action". In addition, Chief Burbank fears enforcement of the law could dissuade illegals from seeking police assistance when victimized by other crime for fear they will be deported. Chief Burbank also claims SB81 forces officers to racially profile people, although Rep. Noel says that's not the intent of SB81. YouTube video of Burbank being interviewed by Telemundo embedded below:
"That is absolutely not the intent of the law at all. There is no profiling in the law, that's an individual decision by a law enforcement officer, but if a law enforcement officer engages with an individual, if there is an issue that involves a criminal action, then he has a responsibility to make sure that person is in fact an American citizen", explained Rep. Noel.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is siding with Chief Burbank, supporting SLCPD's right to back out of SB81. Shurtleff explained, "First of all, this Senate Bill 81 is convoluted. There's a lot of misunderstanding. There's a lot of fear and misinformation, particularly among the immigrant community. Let me just make it clear. The only person that has kind of an overall responsibility to enforce SB81 as a law, the entire law, is me. Now there are different provisions within SB81 where there are different requirements, there are different opportunities and so to say that the Salt Lake PD is not going to enforce SB81, that's a misstatement. There is not a duty of any local law enforcement agency to enforce SB81".. Of course, Shurtleff does not explain whether or not he attempted to dissuade his boss, Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., from signing the bill into law in the first place.
Rep. Noel wants to use the purse strings to compel obedience to the law. He's considering withholding a $4 million appropriation to the department for jail reimbursement. In response, Chief Burbank characterizes the threat as "ironic", saying that SLCPD gets more criminals deported than perhaps the rest of the state combined.
In contrast, the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office plans to comply with law, although a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office said that one major challenge is that local law enforcement doesn't have access to the federal immigration database needed to confirm someone's status. But some other police agencies have also criticized SB81. There's also concern among some community leaders that many Latinos will simply leave the state. [Ed. Note: And why would that necessarily be a bad thing? If someone wishes to up and move to a different location, that's his business. Some of these anti-Mormons who are lifelong residents of Utah but who profess to hate Mormon "domination" might be well-advised to take such advice.]
A review of SB81 indicates that Chief Burbank either misunderstands it, which is unlikely for a man in his position, or else is misrepresenting it, which is more likely. I saw no language in the bill which explicitly allows Chief Burbank to opt his department out.
The three major provisions of the bill which are of concern in this discussion:
(1). The Salt Lake Sheriff's Office is specifically charged with inquiring after the immigration status of anyone they book into jail, not the street cop.
(2). No law will be passed prohibiting cooperation or interaction of local cops with immigration authorities. This doesn't mandate that street cops check every one they stop; it simply bans subordinate jurisdictions from prohibiting individual officer discretion.
(3). The law is clearly to be enforced without regard to race, sex, age, etc., etc., etc,...all the standard diversity variables. So when Chief Burbank complains about profiling, he's merely tacitly admitting that illegal immigrants are disproportionately Latino, and lacks the guts to openly admit it because he's more interested in political correctness and keeping his "iron rice bowl".
And why would Chief Burbank be interested in political correctness? Perhaps it's because he's received so-called "anti-hate" and "anti-terrorism" indoctrination from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Chief Burbank was part of an American law enforcement contingent which traveled to Israel in 2008 to be indoctrinated by the Israelis. The trip was sponsored by the ADL. As a matter of fact, the ADL regularly indoctrinates law enforcement officers nationwide in so-called "extremism", but it's always right-wing extremism they highlight, and never left-wing extremism. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also offers indoctrination to law-enforcement officers, and, like the ADL, are biased against the political right.
Rep. Mike Noel is absolutely correct in speaking out. The mission of the Salt Lake Police Department is to represent the interests of the community, and not the ADL or the SPLC.