A new bill headed to the Utah governor’s desk would allow non-citizens to join law enforcement units throughout the state.
According to S.B. 102, the bill allows lawful residents of the United States who have been in the country legally for at least five years, and have legal authorization to work in the United States, to be admitted to officer training programs.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Paul Ray (R-District 13), argued the new bill could alleviate hiring challenges.
“In talking to chiefs, this would really help relieve the stress that they have on hiring people,” said Rep. Ray.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera added the bill would also diversify police departments at a time when recruitment is difficult, likely due to anti-cop sentiment pushed by the left.
“Recruiting is very tough right now. And there are a lot of individuals who don’t want to go into law enforcement. And there’s a lot of law enforcement officers who don’t want to do it anymore, simply because of the climate now. And so, we can see it’s going to become even more of a challenge,” Sheriff Rivera said, according to ABC4.com.
It’s hoped the five year requirement will provide enough time for recruiters to properly vet applicants, but Sheriff Rivera says background checks could still potentially miss some problematic things.
“There are challenges though, especially with the refugee community to do background checks. Because some of them come from war zones or countries that we can’t go back and find their history, what their work history was, or what their childhood was,” said Rivera.
Activist group Defending Utah worries applicants hired under the new bill would not be as dedicated to the US Constitution and civil rights as official US citizens.
“You think they will be more or less inclined to understand and protect the constitution and your rights?” the group writes at their website. “Should *anyone at all* be a police officer, charged with protecting rights, who doesn’t have a foundation in what those rights are?”
“Police training does not offer an education in the constitutional rights of citizens.”
“How can law enforcement officers swear their constitutionally required oath to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic when they’re not even US Citizens?”
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