Virginia county’s ‘Trust Policy’ requires police to hide names from public crime reports

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In an attempt to prevent federal law enforcement from performing their duty of deporting criminal illegal immigrants, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has ordered the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) to redact the names and other identifying information of anyone arrested or charged with a crime from its weekly public crime reports.

Quick Facts

The “Trust Policy” as it’s known, was passed last January by the board and prohibits county employees from sharing any information that can be used “to distinguish or trace an individual’s citizenship and identify or locate someone of uncertain immigration status.” The policy is a take on the “sanctuary city” movement, as it means that county employees cannot inquire about a person’s citizenship status and cannot share any identifying information with federal law enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

According to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, “This work [Trust Policy] was meant to complement the recently signed General Order that enhanced the Fairfax County Police Department’s longstanding restrictions on involvement in civil immigration cases and established clear guidelines for police contact with immigrant communities.”

They added, “While there are no known instances of employees voluntary sharing information about a resident’s immigration status, such policies are no doubt critical steps forward in building community trust and transparency.”

At the request of the county board, the FCPD will now remove the names of anyone arrested or charged from public crime reports, including suspected MS-13 gang members and violent offenders.

The only Republican on the board Pat Herrity wrote,

“In a huge step backwards in transparency, the county deleted access to arrest data that is used to provide crime mapping and arrest data to the media and tens of thousands of members of the public…. It shows how dangerous it is to let special interest groups dictate policy and oversee county agency actions without input from our experienced staff, our elected officials and our community at large.”

In fact, Diane Burkley Alejandro, a social justice attorney and lead advocate for ACLU People Power Fairfax, and Luis Aguilar, the Virginia executive director of CASA, the largest immigrant advocacy group in the mid-Atlantic, helped create the policy. They stated that the FCPD’s publication of identifier information on arrest and charging documents “constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy and undermines the presumption of innocence to which we are all entitled” and called on the department to “take down the list of shame.”

Crime maps will no longer be available, according to the FCDP, as there is no longer the necessary data available to power them, though they will try to find other legal ways to still provide crime information to the public.

Robert P. Musket, a member of the Brookfield Neighborhood Watch Program, said, “I’m extremely disappointed that Fairfax County will stop publishing the police blotter, which enabled crime maps for each area to be shared online,” adding, “These maps are important tools for neighborhood watch groups and residents.”

This policy has nothing to do with trust and transparency for the public — in fact, it accomplishes the exact opposite. The only group this policy builds trust with is illegal immigrants, encouraging them to not only pursue government services they don’t pay for but also to commit crimes without the fear that they could be deported. What it does do is fully undermine the safety and confidence of taxpaying citizens, and this action is actively thwarting both local and federal law enforcement from protecting Americans as required under the Constitution.

Activist groups, including the ACLU, that push for the so-called “civil liberties” of illegal immigrants over those of Americans are doing a disservice to everyone, not the least of which are children of all races and immigration status, as parents will now have no idea if any suspected child molesters or sexual predators live in their neighborhood and, as such, will have a harder time keeping their children safe from harm.

In this context, not only has a person committed the crime of illegally entering the United States, but then after they commit another crime while in the country, Fairfax County leaders thinks that criminal should be protected from lawful consequences. It is clear that they now value illegal immigrants over the safety and concerns of their own citizens and lawful residents.