The Chesterfield County Police Department was granted approval from the Board of Supervisors last week to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the County and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to allow Police Chief Col. Terry Dupuis to submit the MOU on behalf of the County.
According to a summary provided by the police department, enforcement of laws related to customs requires cooperation and coordination between ICE and local jurisdictions.
Chesterfield’s police department memorandum with ICE would allow for a training of some officers (one officer has completed training) by ICE and be issued a “Customs Officer” designation.
Lt. Brad Badgerow said it was important that citizens know that the new authority given to local police departments is for customs only and does not give trained officers the right to enforce immigration issues.
“This is a nationwide program; a partnership with local customs and has nothing to do with Latino or Hispanic [profiling].” Lt. Badgerow said. “It’s a response to situations of bulk cash smuggling.”
Cash smuggling is not a regular occurrence, he said, but when trained officers and issues involving about $10,000 is discovered, typically in a vehicle, Chesterfield customs officers could confiscate the money, until the cash holder is able to prove it is not illegally obtained money.
Badgerow said that if the perpetrator does not show for court and is found guilty of possessing illegally obtained funds, the money seized would be split between Chesterfield and ICE.
Any injuries that might be sustained by officers will be processed according to the agreement and the officer would be covered under the Federal Employee Workers Compensation Act.
The funds needed to train detectives by ICE would be covered by ICE and would not cost the county.