A police officer was suspended pending an investigation for alerting federal immigration authorities and detaining an illegal immigrant after a traffic accident in Virginia.
The Fairfax County police officer discovered that a man involved in a traffic accident was wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for failing to appear at a deportation hearing.
He contacted ICE and detained the man until they arrived.
Unfortunately for the officer, Fairfax County Police policy forbids cooperation with ICE.
On Tuesday, the Fairfax County police department chief released a statement explaining why the officer was suspended.
Chief Edwin Roessler cited a law in place since 2007 forbidding officers from cooperating with ICE:
If the response reads "OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATIVE WARRANT OF REMOVAL" and the individual is not in custody or being taken into custody for any other violation of law, officers shall not confirm the hit through LESC and shall not take the individual into custody based solely upon the IVF hit. The majority of such administrative warrants represent civil violations of immigration law.
Roessler added that the action was in violation of their training as well.
"In addition, training at our Academy, as clearly outlined in lesson plans, as well as in-service training reinforces to our personnel that we do not enforce nor detain for administrative warrants and we have no authority to enforce federal law," he explained.
The driver was fitted with an ankle monitor by ICE and released after three hours, according to the statement from Roessler.
"This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents," concluded Roessler. "The officer involved in this event has been relieved of all law enforcement duties pending the outcome of this investigation."
The officer was suspended with pay.