Community Dialogue Series – Part II  Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour on ICE

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Cover, Immigration, Politics

Community Dialogue Series – Part II Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour on ICE

By Emanuela Palmares

Editor’s Note: The following story is the second in a three-part series covering a two-hour community dialogue with Mayor Mark Boughton, Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour and Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Glass on immigration and community relations. We continue the series with the transcript of Chief Ridenhour’s answer to the question posed to the panel: “What does a possible partnership between ICE and the City of Danbury mean to our immigrant community?”


“Several months ago, when I met with the pastors, our topic of conversation was how our department could work better with the community and do more outreach with the community. And I would say that despite all this, that’s still the main focus of the Danbury Police Department. I was at a youth group the other day and there were several kids there and we were just talking about anything and I said, ‘You can ask me anything you want.’ One of the students asked me, ‘Is it true that the police officers were going around to homes now and pulling out people for deportation?’
Obviously, the answer to that is no, because that is not happening. I do understand the real fear and concern that people have around the system. As the mayor said, we have to follow the law and we are going to do our best to work with our communities – again, to follow the Trust Act. The Trust Act really applies to civil simple detainers and what we can and cannot do, with regard to several detainers from ICE. But if there are judicial warrants we have to follow that process. In terms of what comes out of Washington, it’s still an evolving thing. We have not been contacted by ICE or been asked for any partnerships at this particular time. When that happens, then we will figure out what is the best way to go about it.
I do know that in the executive order it does say there is some leeway in tailoring it to the individual communities. [As for] what that would mean for Danbury going forward, I guess we’ll wait and see how it’s going. I don’t think we have a lot of definitive answers for you, other than the fact that we’re going to continue as we have for the last several years.”
During the question and answer period, Attorney Juliana Zach asked Chief Ridenhour about the implementation of the Trust Act: “Since I opened my practice here in Connecticut before the Trust Act, anyone who was arrested, was subjected to a detainer, even if it was a minor misdemeanor. After the Trust Act, I’ve noticed that things have gone much smoother and a lot of my clients were just paying their bill and then responding to the cases and sometimes even just going on with their merry lives. My question is [whether] this is going to continue the way it is or are we going to see anyone who is arrested, subjected to the detainer?”
Mayor Mark Boughton responded, “If we run your name through the collect system and there’s a hit there, saying, that we want a detainer on this person, for a criminal act, then we’ll do that. We’ll comply with that request, as long as it fits within the Trust Act … the detainer categories that are there. To answer your question, nothing’s going to change the way we see it; by summer, we’ll have it. It’s the same process. There’s no new processes put in. Chief?”
Chief Ridenhour joined in: “Pretty much anyone that has been arrested may be for something like a traffic violation or a minor misdemeanor, or any kind of misdemeanor, they can feel a little more secure. Not that we’re encouraging anyone to commit a misdemeanor, but it’s safer for him or her than someone who has committed a felony.”
Attorney Zach asked a second and very important question: “My concern is also that I have been always guiding my clients who are victims of crime, to come forward and ask assistance from the police. I think it’s our job as anyone in the community to tell them, ‘If you are in danger, call the police.’ I have never encountered anyone who has had any problems coming forward to the police, when there are victims of a crime requesting a new visa. That has always been very smooth, but people are still in fear that if they come forward as victims of crime, that they will either not be assisted or they will be arrested, because they might not have their documents. Can you just give us any light on this?”
Chief Ridenhour reiterated, “Simply said, that’s not the case. We investigate all complaints and try to assist victims of crime, so your status does not matter to us. And we feel, like I said, we feel more honored when we use the program, when it fits the criteria and most of the time it does. So we have been very effective in getting those processed.”

In our next issue, we will feature the transcript of portions of the lengthy question and answer period and focus on Dr. Bill Glass and how he believes the issue of ICE has impacted students and families in the district, with helpful tips for parents and guardians to safeguard their children.
To learn more about the Trust Act, visit this link:…/pdf/2013PA-00155-R00HB-06659-PA.pdf.
To watch the full video of the meeting, visit Tribuna’s Facebook page or use this link on our website:


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March 23, 2017

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