Chief of Police says two bills would prohibit police and sheriff's deputies from cooperating with feds on immigration, marijuana
Taft Chief of Police Ed Whiting said two bills being considered in the California Legislature could put him in a conflict with his oaths as a law enforcement officer.
The bills, Assembly Bill 1578 and Senate Bill 54, would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from assisting federal law enforcement in enforcing federal marijuana laws and aiding federal immigration officers enforcing immigration laws.
City andcounty law enforcement officers who do not comply with the laws could face the loss of state funding.
Whiting took an oath of office -- the same oath sworn by the council in which states in part “I... do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California..."
Not assisting federal authorities in their duties, legal under the United States Constitution, is not something Whiting wants to do, he said
Whiting is not alone in his position to the measures.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association.
He was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as calling AB1578 "quite offensive" and saying the legislature is “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”
Youngblood said Sheriff's deputies regularly help federal authorities investigate and eradicate illegal marijuana grows on federal lands in Kern County.
The recreational use of marijuana will be legal in California under state law starting Jan. 1 2018 but possession and use is still banned under federal law.
SB 54 is similar but it prohibits law local enforcement from from aiding federal immigration officers in any way.
The bill, as written, would prohibit California law enforcement agencies from "Use of agency or department moneys, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes..."without a court order.
It would also prohibit officers from making arrests based on civil immigration warrants.
"We will be prohibited from helping the federal government in any way," Whiting said.
his comments drew support from the council.