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Sun, Jan. 26

Police push to change town code to comply with 1070

The Prescott Valley Town Council Thursday night will consider whether to strike from town code two items of police procedure to bring it into compliance with Arizona's tougher new immigration law.

Prescott Valley Police General Orders instruct officers to provide individualized law enforcement services to those who need it, including undocumented aliens, and to take no police action to arrest or book someone who has violated U.S. Immigration Code.

Commander Bill Fessler said that while the department will have to bring its own procedures into compliance with SB 1070 - the immigration enforcement bill signed into law by Gov. Brewer in April which requires state law enforcement personnel to enforce immigration law - that does not mean illegal immigrants in Prescott Valley will get less service from police, or that police will give less attention to crimes against them because they are illegal.

"We don't want to instill a fear that will make someone not contact us. We have mandates (related to SB 1070) that we have to follow now, but if someone is a crime victim, it is our intention to focus on the crime. Let's focus on the problem that you have, then we'll address the issues related to SB 1070," he said. "We will not just look the other way on a crime just because someone is an illegal immigrant. That is the peripheral issue."

In his recommendation to the council to adopt Resolution No. 1710 repealing the two items concerning undocumented aliens, Police Chief Jim Maxson said that in 2002 the council adopted Ordinance 530, which allows revisions of the Police General Orders by the chief and town manager without formal council review. The exception was a list of policies considered "high-risk," including those related to immigration law enforcement.

If SB 1070 survives legal challenges and becomes effective next Thursday, Prescott Valley's current police policies regarding immigration will be unlawful.

Maxson's recommendation states that among the provisions of SB 1070 is "authority for any legal resident to sue in Superior Court to challenge any official or agency that adopts or implements a policy that restricts enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law." Therefore, he said, Prescott Valley should strike down the two portions of the General Orders that will be in violation of the new law.

Despite challenges that might keep SB 1070 from going into effect in July, Maxson said, "Staff is suggesting that it is prudent now to repeal the two General Orders which, on their face, limit enforcement of federal immigration laws."

Maxson also reminded council in his recommendation that, along with signing SB 1070, Brewer issued an executive order that requires all law enforcement personnel to receive training on enforcement of the law, including instruction that race, color or national origin alone are not grounds for suspicion that someone is illegally in the country. Resolution 1710 will also allow for officers to receive training with materials from AZPOST, the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

Fessler said Sgt. Brandon Bonney is conducting a 90-minute training class for all PV police officers that will instruct them in the laws related to SB 1070.

In other items, council will:

• Conduct public hearings for several zoning code amendments. They include changing the town's requirements for pool enclosure fencing from 6 feet in height to 5 feet to make the regulation consistent with the state's requirement of five feet; making the off-site parking requirements consistent with code illustrations; changing required timeframes for processing preliminary development plans and final development plans to make them consistent with those for preliminary and final plats; and simplifying town code as it applies to dispensing propane and other fuels from above-ground tanks.

• Consider extending the suspension of commercial impact fees to encourage commercial development within the town. The council first approved a resolution to suspend the fees in 2003, and the town manager's office has suggested continuing that suspension for two more years, until August 2012.

• Consider notifying the public and setting a public hearing about revising water and sewer rates for the Town of Prescott Valley.

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