Roseville stopped short this week of becoming the first Twin Cities suburb to become a sanctuary community.
But officials stressed that they want all living within the city limits to feel free to seek police protection without worrying that an officer will ask about their immigration status.
The City Council passed a resolution formalizing the policy of “prohibiting officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status except under certain circumstances.”
“Roseville police do not ask,” said City Manager Pat Trudgeon. “But that has not been formally in the policy manual. We have put it in, and officers face disciplinary action if the manual isn’t followed.”
Trudgeon told council members his staff is at work on a plan to communicate the city’s sincerity to “those directly impacted.” Fliers will go to places such as schools and apartment buildings, he said, and police officers will carry a small-format card to be used “as part of their interaction.”
A public consultation process called Imagine Roseville ended in a recommendation last spring to become a more formal sanctuary city.
Dissenters said the process was backed only by a group of strong-willed participants who carried passionate views on the subject but did not necessarily reflect a wider community consensus.
Trudgeon said the difference between formally being a sanctuary city and simply adopting a policy, in the end, was more symbolic than anything. “If we took additional action like declaring ourselves a sanctuary city,” he said, “it would not result in any measurable difference in how we treat residents.”
Roseville is complying with four of the nine approaches recommended by the American Civil Liberties Union, he said. The others by and large have to do with jurisdictions operating a detention facility, which the suburb doesn’t have.
The Imagine Roseville process — spurred by the July 2016 shooting of Philando Castile in neighboring Falcon Heights — isn’t over, Mayor Dan Roe stressed. The next step is a public forum on Oct. 2 at the city’s Oval, where different views will be shared with citizens, the city’s police chief and other city staffers.
“A number of things are evolving and changing with regard to public safety and race,” Roe said, “including crisis intervention training for all police personnel from the chief on down.”