SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The San Jose Police Department is letting go of two federal immigration agency investigators it had enlisted to help crack down on escalating gang violence.
The department on Wednesday announced it is terminating its partnership with the Department of Homeland Security after seeing a decrease in gang-related violence.
Police Chief Chris Moore extended his gratitude to the federal agents in a statement released on the department’s website.
“We were gearing up for a potentially hot and violent summer,” Moore said. “But thanks in part to the hard work of our officers and the investigators, we’ve reached a point of stability.”
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
Moore enlisted the help of the investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in late June as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Community Shield” program.
He assured the community the agents would not be targeting immigrants, but were helping the department target escalating gang violence and that he would remove them if they overstepped their boundaries.
Immigrant and civil rights groups were not convinced. Several were vocal about their opposition to the program, maintaining that the program would increase the community’s distrust of law enforcement, cultivate fear and undermine immigrants’ civil liberties.
They were concerned that the department’s collaboration with the two ICE agents would increase the chances of racial profiling and deportations.
Police maintain the agents provided “much-needed investigative assistance” with the department’s gang suppression strategy, which they said has been “extremely successful.”
As part of that plan, Moore deployed additional patrol officers and redirected the 38-member Metro unit to focus primarily on gangs. That effort has thus far yielded roughly 315 arrests, the majority of the arrests being gang-related.
The federal investigators will be returned to their agency, but the Police Department said it would continue the suppression strategy to ensure gang violence does not rebound.
The department will also collaborate with the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, which is renowned for its approach to preventing gang violence.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)