Tippecanoe Co. Sheriff candidates on ICE detainment question

Wednesday night's sheriff debate is sparking conversation about how local police should cooperate Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Tippecanoe County.

Posted: Sep 20, 2018 6:44 PM
Updated: Sep 21, 2018 3:38 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — It is still unclear what the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office should do in a fictional ICE situation we brought during Wednesday night's debate.

So, we wanted to get the answer for you.

"Would you honor an ICE detainer request for a person whose criminal custody has ended? Why or why not?" asked News 18's Kayla Sullivan.

"To be honest with you that isn't something I experienced," said Democratic Sheriff Candidate Bob Goldsmith. "I would work with our jail commander, the county attorney and the prosecutor's office and if their criminal time is expired, we'd have to look at it."

"If that's a valid order from a judge to hold that person the law in Indiana is that we shall assist our federal partners," answered Republican Sheriff Candidate Jason Dombkowski. "That's a state law and I would follow that law."

The good news is, they're both right, according to the interpretation of Tippecanoe County attorney Doug Masson.

We asked him to look into the matter Thursday after the debate.

The question came from the league of women voters.

Masson said, "State law (IC 5-2-18.2) generally requires local government to cooperate with federal officials with respect to their enforcement of federal immigration laws while the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution requires probable cause to detain an individual without a court order. If there is a court order requiring continued detention of the inmate, then the Sheriff's Department would simply do what the court order requires. In the case of a detainer request not associated with a court order, the Sheriff's Department would have to review the details of the request. To continue holding an individual, the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause to believe that an individual is committing or has committed a crime. If the detainer request provides information forming the basis of such probable cause, then the Sheriff's Department could continue to detain the individual under the Fourth Amendment."

Immigration laws are a hot topic right now politically. But when it comes to the job of the sheriff, both candidates agree, it's not as complicated.

"As a sheriff, it's very easy, you follow the law," said Dombkowski. 

"Totally agree," responded Goldsmith. "It's a court order, it's a law, we have to enforce it."

If you'd like to watch the full debate, click here. 

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