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Denver Police Respond To 'Sanctuary City' Testimony On Capitol Hill

DENVER (CBS4)- Police in Denver have responded to the testimony of the president of Denver's police union before Congress about why he believes Denver is a sanctuary city.

On Thursday, Denver Police Detective Nick Rogers, who has more than 30 years of experience working in narcotics, testified before Congress.

He testified under oath about how he believes Denver has a hands-off policy when it comes to the immigration status of people in police custody.

nick rogers
Denver Police Detective Nick Rogers (credit: CBS)

He says Denver's immigration ordinance leaves officers "handcuffed" and keeps them from doing crime fighting.

"The ordinance has had a chilling effect on our daily operations. We can no longer call and share information with ICE, they can no longer call and ask us for assistance or ask for intel on criminal activity. The ordinance has created, in my opinion, a city that is much less safe then it was prior to this ordinance," said Rogers.

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Friday, the Denver Police Department responded with this statement, in part: Rogers was not representing the Denver Police Department and Rogers' statements do not reflect DPD's philosophy or practice. Please see the following for clarification regarding Rogers' statements:

The Denver Police Department does not support his statements.

Our Denver ordinance clearly encourages participation with our federal partners when DPD is working on criminal investigations. We never restrict that important work.

Immigration Customs Enforcement officials and other Federal officers have access to Federal databases, which include who is in Denver's jails or custody.

Our ordinance was designed to build trust between law enforcement and our community by ensuring that local law enforcement resources are not used to enforce Federal Civil Immigration laws. This law allows our officers to focus on fighting crime in Denver.

Contrary to previous assertions, there is no special penalty for employees who violate this specific ordinance. It is the same for violating any ordinance.

Robert White
Denver Police Chief Robert White (credit: CBS)

"We value our relationships with our Federal, State, and Local law enforcement partners and will always work with them on criminal matters," said Denver Police Chief Robert White. "Our goal is to maintain a safe community where everyone feels free to participate in all this city has to offer. The Denver Police Department does not think this new Denver City Ordinance negatively impacts our ability to enforce the law in any capacity. A person's immigration status is irrelevant in taking enforcement action with regards to criminal activity. In fact, we have found the ordinance has helped to solidify the relationship between the Police Department and Denver residents. It encourages people from all communities to actively participate as partners in the fight against crime by providing cooperation and information, which then helps us to take enforcement actions against those who engage in illegal activity."

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