Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Policy vs Enforcement

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Policy vs Enforcement

One indicium of how divided we as a society have become (besides the sharp split in both Alexandria’s mayoral primary and statewide in the Republican Senate contest) is how extraordinary, even in the “dog days of summer,” controversies dominate the letters in the “pet gazette” edition even!

Cam Cook criticizes “cosmetic” changes Sheriff Lawhorn made after meeting with immigration advocates. Cook complains that the sheriff is turning inmates over to federal immigration authorities based on a civil immigration infraction. Cook believes, instead, the sheriff should only honor judicial warrants.

In the absence of evidence, more than a small fraction of inmates immigration authorities seek are wrongly identified, all requiring a judicial warrant does is introduce inefficiencies into immigration enforcement processes. Just as enforcement agencies issue valid arrest warrants for crimes without need for a judge’s signature, why would a judge’s signature be needed for a civil infraction? Police agencies, in matter of course, enforce civil infractions, such as typical traffic violations and parking tickets, along with criminal ones without judicial involvement at their initial stages.

Law and order are best maintained when police agencies cooperate fully as they can and standardize countrywide their protocols for interacting with one another.

The writer may be upset about immigration law, and wish to burden enforcement where those laws are less popular than in most of the country, but this approach, which thus far Sheriff Lawhorn has commendably resisted, only undermines respect for law. We all have the ability as best we can, by laws we don’t like and even in concert with others of like mind can’t change, but burdening or undermining their enforcement can cause chaos.

Dino Drudi