That might just be the next logical step if Hartford City Councilman Luis Cotto has his way.
Cotto has introduced a proposed ordinance that will drastically limit the efforts of the Hartford Police Department in obtaining information and intelligence gathering.The ordinance is below for you to view.
Since when can the Hartford City Council supercede the powers given to law enforcement by State and Federal law? Do we have any confidence in our Police Department and our Police Chief to do the right thing? Unless I'm confused, Federal law trumps State law, State law trumps municipal ordinances and resolutions.
As an example, one of the dictates being placed upon our police officers by the ordinance is "Reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed may justify a cursory pat down of outer clothing for weapons but shall not justify a search, seizure or collection or retention of intelligence information".
Are you kidding me? A police officer can have a "reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed" and it ends there? No questions asked, no id shown, no further search, just a simple pat down and now be on your way courtesy of Councilman Cotto. In any other jurisdiction, apparently besides Hartford, "reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed" is known as probable cause.
Is Councilman Cotto attempting the rewrite just about every court decision that defines probable cause and a law enforcements right to proceed once that basic and necessary element has been established?
Why don't we just handcuff the police officers now and get it over with. The "collection or retention of intelligence information" after stopping someone is known as an "FI Card".The "FI Card" stands for Field Interview and is filled out by an officer after a contact with an individual on the street.
A police source familiar with the procedure stated that the FI cards are invaluable and that an alert officer filling out the card often leads to identifying suspects involved in crime trends. The source even stated that on at least one occasion a homicide suspect was identified through an FI card and someone being able to connect the dots to the suspects activities.
Maybe under Cotto's proposal we can do away with "intelligence gathering" and instead issue all Hartford Police officers their own crystal ball. It would probably do about as much good when it comes to Public Safety as this ordinance will.
I'm already prepared for those that will throw out the term racist and racism and claim that I have no idea what racial profiling feels like and the rest of the garbage that accompanies nonsense legislation like this. Illegal immigration is the elephant in the room that no one wants to speak about. Notice I didn't say "immigration", I specifically said "illegal immigration". If you don't follow the process and you are here illegally, you are a criminal, no matter what the reason. Someone robbing a bank because they need money and haven't eaten in days and are on the streets is still a criminal, no matter what the circumstances.
For hundreds of years people have been heading to the shores of what became the United States. There is a process, a legal and systematic process, for those wishing to enter our country and become citizens. My relatives did it, legally, and just about everyone reading this has done it legally or their relatives and ancestors did it legally. Some were forcibly brought to this country, but none the less, they hold the title of US citizen.
What's wrong with following and enforcing the process? I am reluctant to connect violent crime to illegal immigrants, we do well enough with violent crime committed by US citizens. I think most "illegal immigrants" actually come here for the same reason my ancestors did, and for the same reasons those following the process to become legal citizens arrive here. Quite simply, for a better life and to live in a great country like the US.
There is a process to enter this country legally and if Cotto or others don't agree with the procedure, then work to change that. Tying the hands of law enforcement only endangers those that are here legally and encourages more illegal immigration to sanctuary cities like Hartford.
Concilman Cotto might need to be reminded of the oath of office he took when he became a councilperson a major part of which he swore to "uphold the Constitution of the United States". Where does undermining State and Federal law enforcement efforts to enforce laws on the books play into "upholding the Constitution"?
This proposal is pure nonsense and is nothing short of pandering to a specific audience. I would hope that any law enforcement agent that is not allowed to do their job when necessary as required by law as result of this ordinance, if passed, will remember another law also on the books. It is called "Obstruction of Justice" or the lesser charge of "Interfering with a Police Officer", which is exactly what this proposed ordinance is all about.
It would be interesting to see what our new Corporation Counsel and Mayor thinks of the legality of this proposal.
Please turn out Monday night for the Council Hearing on this wonderful proposed legislation.
Cotto's Proposed Intelligence Ordinance 8-11-10-1