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Fri, Jan. 17

ICE extends enforcement contract with Sheriff's Office

The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) granted the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office a three-year contract extension earlier this month that permits local law enforcement officers who complete specialized training to enforce immigration law and identify foreign-born criminals.

Eight specially-trained detention classification officers with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office access ICE computer databases to determine the legal status of any person arrested and booked into the Camp Verde jail. In addition, three trained patrol officers determine the legal status of people detained during traffic stops involving transportation of undocumented immigrants.

"The strong partnership that the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has built with ICE under the 287(g) program serves as a model in demonstrating how law enforcement agencies can work together to improve public safety in their communities," said Katrina S. Kane, field office director of ICE Detention and Removal Operations in Arizona.

Since the program began in April 2008, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Detention Services Division has interviewed more than 13,000 people during the booking and classification process. In each case, the person was booked on local charges with the eventual determination of undocumented alien status as a result of processing by ICE-trained detention officers.

As result of this program, YCSO has transferred more than 1,500 illegal aliens to ICE for deportation. This includes aliens processed while in custody and those held during human smuggling investigations in the field. Many identity theft cases have been solved when fraudulent identification cards are found on detainees as well.

Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh said the cooperative effort between the sheriff's office and ICE has increased his officers' ability to identify criminal aliens for deportation, reduced crime, and made Yavapai County a safer place to live.

This is the same program that was not renewed earlier this year for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

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