On Saturday evening, Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino issued a Maplewood Police Department Operational Order to comply with an “Fair and Welcoming Community” ordinance passed by the Maplewood Township Committee earlier this year.
The 11-page document, dated July 17, provides an introductory “Purpose” statement and background for the order. At the bottom of page 3, the document goes into policy specifics on what the order means for Maplewood police on a day-to-day level.
In the “Purpose” portion, the order makes the case that the Maplewood police will not be neglecting their policing duties in enforcing the ordinance.
“To be clear, the Maplewood Police Department’s overriding mission is to enforce state and local criminal laws and to protect the community it serves. That Mission has not been, nor will it be, the enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws.” The order also states that Maplewood police will “take appropriate and lawful actions to preserve and enhance the safety of the community and all citizens, irrespective of an individual’s immigration status.”
The order calls for mandatory training of police officers to “clarify their exiting lawful authority and their limitation for the enforcement of immigration laws consistent with the intentions and conditions set forth by the Maplewood Township Committee, statute, regulations, directives and court orders.”
In the Policy portion, one bullet point states, “No department, employee or official of the Township of Maplewood shall take part in the registration or reporting of individuals based on religions, race, ethnicity, national origin or immigration status except, in the case of the Maplewood Police Department, as required by NJ Attorney General’s Directives.”
The local activist group SOMA Action called the order an “a necessary start, but not sufficient to ensure that people of all backgrounds are safe in our community.” Read SOMA Action’s full statement here.
“As the events of July 5, 2016, and its aftermath show, we all suffer when police conduct, transparency, and collaboration with the community is poor, and people of color suffer most of all. We hope and expect the Maplewood Police Department will continue to work with the community, despite the challenges it may present internally,” read the SOMA Action statement.
On Monday, the Maplewood Township Committee voted 5-0 to release police and audio tape from the July 5, 2016 post-fireworks incident. Village Green is awaiting receipt of those tapes.
In his email releasing the order this evening, Cimino made the following statement:
On behalf of the Maplewood Police Department, I am pleased to provide the public with a copy of our Welcoming Community Order which has been drafted to comply with Maplewood Resolution 3-17, established by the Maplewood Township Committee. The Maplewood Police Department recognizes that our mission to provide safety and security for the entire community is best achieved through the cooperation of all individuals, whether documented or not. This order outlines the responsibilities of the members of the Maplewood Police Department with regard to fair and impartial treatment of all people, regardless of their immigration status.
Read or download for the full order here: