There’s an old saying that goes something like this: a police chief is a cop who thinks they are a politician and a sheriff is a politician who thinks they are a cop. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Frederick County sheriff’s continued policy of clinging to local enforcement of federal immigration laws, which does nothing but create political theater having very little or nothing to do with crime and disorder in our community.

After over a decade of continuing his obsession with enforcement of the federal immigration laws, the sheriff’s fixation has brought Frederick County costly civil suits, demonstrations, tension between the immigrant community and law enforcement, widespread criticism of the sheriff and sheriff’s office that has extended well beyond our county’s borders, and a soiled reputation for our community.

As the rest of the nation is raising concerns about an increase in specific locally centered violent crimes, our sheriff remains fixated on enforcement of federal immigration laws, exemplified by his June 287(g) Steering Committee meeting and his recent trip (June 24, 25) to the Mexico border.

The steering committee meeting showed us that he continues to try and defend his position as he rows against the tide of professional leaders in law enforcement, a broad range of community groups, and an overall trend to abandon local jurisdictions’ enforcement of federal immigration laws, specifically under 287(g). When the current administration’s pick to lead ICE was sheriff of Harris County, Texas, he dropped out of the 287(g) program and intends to redirect the attention of ICE toward serious violent offenders.

The sheriff remains at odds with professional leaders in law enforcement represented by prominent law enforcement professional organizations, including the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Police Foundation (PF), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), all of which have come out against local enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The sheriff is also at odds with the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and its recommendations and action items concerning the relationship with immigrant communities and enforcement of federal immigration laws:

1.9 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should build relationships based on trust with immigrant communities. This is central to overall public safety.

1.9.1 ACTION ITEM: Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and non-serious crime.

In a June 30 radio interview, the sheriff boasted about his recent trip to the Mexico border to meet with like-minded politicians, and went so far as to declare Maryland a border state, a stretch even for the geographically challenged.

Part of leadership is being able to read and adapt to changing times and/or conditions. Even as the sheriff’s local 287(g) program and ICE agreement to hold detainees are all but shut down, he persists in pursuing his political agenda instead of focusing on county needs.

Now is the time for strategies that promote collaboration to address community concerns, including the pandemic-fueled rise in deaths due to drug overdoses and concerns about equity in policing. Instead of misleading political posturing, the sheriff could work with Frederick city’s police chief, our state police barrack commander and other local law enforcement leaders to establish community-oriented partnerships to address root causes of violent crime, continue practices that prevent a rise in violent crime, and communicate regularly and honestly with the public about the exact nature of crime in our county, mitigating incorrect fears and assumptions based on problems being experienced elsewhere that have currently captured our nation’s attention.

It is time for the sheriff to abandon 287(g) and his trips to the Mexico border and focus on the job the people of Frederick County elected him to do: addressing our county’s crime and public order problems in ways that are professional, fair and equitable for everyone.

Karl Bickel, formerly second in command of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and former assistant professor of criminal justice is retired from the U.S. Department of Justice and writes from Monrovia. He can be reached at KarlBickel@comcast.net

(24) comments

Piedmontgardener

Well written and thoughtful. Jenkins has graduated to a political hack, which is exactly what we don't need running country law enforcement.

TrekMan

Mr. Bickel - it's time to go away. You lost not just once, but multiple times in the race for sheriff. Your diatribe seems to be just a bunch of rotten apple bitterness because of it. Time to go away, don't go away mad, just go away!

Dwasserba

“…went so far as to declare Maryland a border state, a stretch even for the geographically challenged.” I did enjoy this bit of humor.

Rick Blatchford

Me thinks that Bickel's opening sentence said a mouthful. He ends the sentence with "...a sheriff is a politician who thinks they are a cop." Really, Karl? Let us put that into perspective. Karl Bickel is a politician who WANTS TO BE a sheriff. He's tried and failed, BUT looks likes he's going to try again. An accurate descriptor for Karl is a gosh darn real WANNABE. Rot's o' ruck, Karl. Rocks and glass houses, Karl. Rock and glass houses.

Awteam2021

Rick, you should look up the derogatory definition of a politician. And ask yourself, does Chuck fit that description? Especially after he went on the radio (WFMD) and spewed allegations about a non-incident incident. He said, as a law enforcement officer he had no other remedy other then to rev-up hundreds of threats to Kai and his family.

Chuck Jenkins claimed he had no other recourse but to spew hatred. In your eyes, that’s the action of a professional officer?

Rick Blatchford

Nope, ya missed the point. Bickel (a politician) is trying to make Jenkins look bad by calling him a politician. That's called ironic. "You should look up" that one. Do you want a nightmare scenario to think about??? Imagine Kai Hagen as Exec w/ Karl B as sheriff. Just think, no county borders (everyone's a citizen who can vote), and mandatory everything.

Awteam2021

That’s ridiculous. All citizens can vote but not for candidates running for offices in counties that they don’t live in. And please, “mandatory” is the conservative bugaboo of the week.🤦‍♂️ Last week it was “CRT”. The week before that it was “Woke”. The week before that… you know the long list of fear mongering hyperbole.

TrekMan

👍👍

DickD

Sheriff Jenkins has always been obsessed with illegal immigrants. He met with Trump who is well known for his fence and lack of it. From what I have seen the immigrants coming to the U.S. have been more than willing to work hard and do work that many citizens are not willing to do. Trump has even taken advantage by not paying immigrants, after hiring them to work at different locations.

Jenkins has done his part and we'll known for being vindictive. One of his deputies told me that he would have to resign after one campaign. According to Bickle's column Jenkins has g down to the border again. Our County taxes pay Jenkins to police our County; not the Mexican border.

We need a new Sheriff!

NewMarketParent

@DickD

Hear! Hear!

Trumpkins knows one thing and that is the key to his power is to pray on the xenophobia of the people he grew up with and he has shown time and again that it is a strategy that works.

We all need to show him that the dustbin of history has a place for people like that.

matthewboh

Amen! We need a new sheriff! One who isn't vindictive, one who doesn't hate people of color and one who believes people need to be treated with respect.

KarlBickel

[thumbup]

MD1756

In other words Karl Bickel (who has chosen to use subjective terms rather than objective terms in his LTE) is arguing against cooperation of law enforcement agencies. While law enforcement should not become "obessed" or "fixated" with one subsection of one law, we should expect and really demand that our agencies at the different levels (local, state and federal) cooperate with each other. The federal government asking for help with immigration laws is no different than state asking for help with environmental laws. As an example, look at EPA, the state and local agencies. In fact most of EPA's budget is passed on to delegated, authorized, primacy (the appropriate term depends on the statute that the state has asked for responsibility to implement) agencies in the states. If they did not coordinate and cooperate, our environment would be far worse off than it is now. There are plenty of examples where EPA has conducted inspections at the request of the states, found violations, but rather than taking the enforcement action themselves, pass the information back to the states to enforce (with help if and as needed/requested). Personally, I want law enforcement at all levels to cooperate in order to build upon each other's programs. Frederick needs to keep cooperating with the federal government and notify the federal government when people who have been taken to jail are wanted for crimes in other states, or are illegal immigrants, etc. It seems to me that arguing against cooperation is nothing more than politics. One can question how much resources are spent. That is true for any activity... are the resources expended worth the return? A sheriff's department is not necessarily the right agency to determine the root cause of the crimes. Law enforcement's responsibility is to determine compliance and enforce as necessary when noncompliance has initially been determined (final determination is often with the court system). Just ask those who want to defund the police so they only do law enforcement activity. Let social workers or someone else identify why people choose to break the laws.

KarlBickel

From the column.

"The sheriff remains at odds with professional leaders in law enforcement represented by prominent law enforcement professional organizations, including the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Police Foundation (PF), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), all of which have come out against local enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The sheriff is also at odds with the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and its recommendations and action items concerning the relationship with immigrant communities and enforcement of federal immigration laws:

1.9 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should build relationships based on trust with immigrant communities. This is central to overall public safety.

1.9.1 ACTION ITEM: Decouple federal immigration enforcement from routine local policing for civil enforcement and non-serious crime."

MD1756

So what? Is there any surprise Biden would push for noncooperation on illegal immigration? What are the political leanings or funding of the other organizations? Many major cities have been controlled by the Democratic party for quite some time.

I noticed you didn't explain why cooperation between different levels of law enforcement is bad. Your opinion. I believe that the agencies at the different levels of government (be they law enforcement, agricultural practices, whatever) must cooperate.

I don't care one way or the other about legal immigrants. However illegal immigrants bring more problems than just economic and that's mainly in the form of population growth as I've pointed out in comments to many other articles. If people here stopped having children we could allow more people to immigrate into this country, but that will never happen. I do agree with Biden's position of trying to reduce the incentive of legal immigrants by providing more and more effective aid in their home countries. Dollar for dollar, we can help them more in their home countries that we can here. Just yesterday I cited an article that discussed the cost of caring for children in this country illegally costs about 30% of the U.S. EPA proposed 2022 budget. That's about 3.2 billion dollars just for the children in the system. Just think what that money could provide in their home country. I also don't like the fact that those who apparently have humanitarian concerns aren't concerned with the people in the rest of the world who can't travel hear (i.e., those in S.E. Asia or in Africa) who are much worse off than those in Central America.

Finally, your citation to recommendation1.9 does not really describe the cooperation that currently exists with FCSO. enforcement is not happening in the field but the immigration status of those in jail are being determined and information on illegal immigrant is being relayed to ICE. How will that ruin the trust with legal immigrants (unless they are aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in which case they are violating the law too)?

DickD

MD haven't you said you have no children? Don't you complain about school taxes because you don't have children? Don't you think some day you will need help from the children who have grown up as you get old?

Andwhy are you defending Jenkins about immigrants if you really don't care one way or the other?

MD1756

DickD, 1) I care about following our laws. Illegal immigrants are not following our laws. Businesses who hire illegal immigrants are not following our laws.... etc.

2) I don't like the hypocrisy and or poor logic of some peoples positions especially since they don't recognize that they haven't thought long term costs/benefits.

3) The people who may have to take care of me in the future are already entering the workforce.

4) Since you remember I have no children, you should also remember I have no issue with paying the same tax as parents do for education, so why people bring that up it is only to deflect the argument from their indefensible position that those who choose (not need) to have children and pose an addition burden on federal, state and particularly local services should have to pay less taxes simply because of their choice to have children. Everyone's taxes go to paying the base for programs but just about all (if not all) other services provided by the government do not give you a reduced tax (therefore making others pay more to meet a certain budget requirement) for using the services. Those who drive vehicles pay more through gas taxes, licenses, registrations, tolls, etc. Those who use medicare will have co-pays for certain services. Those who use more energy (electricity, natural gas, oil, etc.) for home or business use pay more environmental taxes. Those with phones pay more for 911 services. Those who go to national parks (and in Maryland, state parks) pay entrance fees. So why is the choice to have children different especially when it creates one of the largest burdens on state and local governments, increases human's environmental harm to the planet, increases the extinction of other species on this planet? Not one of you have answered that question but simply state we all pay into things we don't use (and BTW I am for eliminating all income tax deductions/credits geared for everything (if the government wants to exempt a certain $ amount from everyone's income fine, but no credits/deductions that don't go to everyone). The income tax should not be used as a vehicle to drive social policy especially when it is being driven the wrong way.

5)Thought out logically, it makes more economic sense to stop funding children and import workers from other countries to meet any of our needs, so Dick, instead of your children helping me in my old age, I'd rather you not do me the favor of having children but I'm perfectly happy to have someone come in from another country to take care of me (of course that is only a hypothetical argument but since you keep bringing you who is going to take care of me if I get infirmed, let me worry about that. 6) Along the lines of who is going to take care of me if I get old enough to need help, it certainly won't be the children I don't have so it is likely my expenses in old age will be greater than those who have children who can help them and yet more of my income is taxed thus reducing my savings to be able to hire someone to take care of me and increasing the odds I will need government assistance.

Where is the equity? No one has given a logical clear argument as to why those having children should pay less because they choose (having children is not a requirement for life like food and shelter) to have children.

gabrielshorn2013

👍👍👍 md1756!

phydeaux994

4) Since you remember I have no children, you should also remember I have no issue with paying the same tax as parents do for education,…….you have no issue???? and then you go on and on bitchin’ about having to pay more taxes than people with children, as you do in almost every comment you make on the FNPOF.

MD1756

Some people's lack of comprehension with what they have read or their intentional misrepresentation of my statements. I wouldn't be "bitchin'" as one commenter put if (and that person should read their own comment which wrongfully implies I would bitc h about having to pay just the same tax as parents do). I wonder how many children some commenters, that appear to believe that they should pay less tax while placing a higher demand for services, have and I wonder why those people like that who comment never answer the questions truthfully and why they think there isn't an equity issue of, ceteris paribus, paying more income taxes (not just the same taxes) for not using government provided services? It makes me wonder about all the school systems that promote students up and out that have not really learned what a graduate should have learned and maybe that's why their reading comprehension and logic appear to need improvement.

pdl603

Bickel when you said “tension between the immigrate community” That is all I had to read to understand your hit piece. First Bickel, they immigrated here illegally and should be returned to point of origin should they commit any crime. If you are not willing to do that, then you truly would not protect and serve those who pay your salary should you run and become sheriff. But let’s face it after three unsuccessful tries to be sheriff the people have spoken. Fade out.

KarlBickel

Not all of those in the immigrant community are here in violation of the immigration laws, some of which are civil and not criminal.

Dwasserba

[thumbup]Some are adopted naturalized citizens and are also familiar with the stinkeye being an imported minority can get you.

Mr. Bickel this paragraph caught my attention....

Instead of misleading political posturing, the sheriff could work with Frederick city’s police chief, our state police barrack commander and other local law enforcement leaders to establish community-oriented partnerships to address root causes of violent crime, continue practices that prevent a rise in violent crime, and communicate regularly and honestly with the public about the exact nature of crime in our county, mitigating incorrect fears and assumptions based on problems being experienced elsewhere that have currently captured our nation’s attention.

You mean to tell me Sheriff Jenkins isn't doing this already? Lack of communication is what caused 9/11 to happen (yes I read the 9/11 report) and what caused 1/6 (and I can't wait to read the 1/6 report)...had the law enforcements agencies been in communicating with each other then 9/11 would have never happened nor would have 1/6...so that above paragraph is troubling to say the least.

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