The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board is organizing a team of organizations to provide input on the training program the state’s police officers will need in order to enforce the new controversial immigration law.
Senate Bill 1070, signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and gives local police officers the authority and discretion to seek a person’s citizenship status and apprehend that person for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months of jail and a $2,500 fine before deportation.
Brewer directed AZPOST to come up with guidelines for law enforcement to use in enforcing the law.
“We’re just starting,” AZPOST executive director Lyle Mann said of implementing the training program. “It is a super complex issue. We’re inviting participation from people or groups who are knowledgeable on the subject.”
Senate Bill 1070 is scheduled to go into effect 90 days after Arizona’s legislative session ends.
Mann knows the law is likely to be peppered by lawsuits from groups and individuals contending unconstitutional issues, racial profiling and discrimination. With that in mind, he has identified about 20 groups to provide input to his 13-member board to implement an iron-clad training program.
AZPOST consists of members of state and local law enforcement. The board provides services to approximately 170 law enforcement agencies encompassing over 16,000 sworn peace officers, 9,000 correctional service officers, and 16 academies.
Mann said it is critical to have the input of those who realize the law is moving forward and offer suggestions of what is needed for it to be enforced. When the training program is completed, it will be submitted to the board for approval.
One of the first resumes Mann said he received expressing interest to serve on the input team was from Neville Cramer, retired Immigration and Naturalization Service agent of Scottsdale. Cramer worked for the federal agency for nearly 30 years, pushing for immigration reform.
Cramer also was the director of the U.S. Immigration Officer Academy at the Federal law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia from 1990 to 1996 under the Department of Justice. Mann said he is reviewing Cramer’s credentials along with others who volunteered.
Cramer said that training is the key to success or failure of the bill and he wants to make the board aware of the resources that are available to avoid the need for a lot of funding or assistance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security.
“We don’t want to spend a lot of money to develop a training program that already has been established and has worked well in other parts of the country,” Cramer said. “The board will have a tremendous pool of resources to draw from. By using resources that are already out there, the law could be implemented quickly and effectively.”