GREEN BAY, Wis.(WFRV)-On Wednesday, State Representatives David Steffen and John Macco held a press conference at the Green Bay Police Department to announce new legislation that, if passed, would make it easier for DACA recipients to become city police officers and sheriff’s deputies. The press conference included Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith and Brown County Sheriff Todd Delain.
Chief Smith says that BILL 2019 started with a conversation with city employee Jose Del Rio. “Jose told me that he wanted to become a police officer, but did not qualify because he is a DACA recipient,” said Smith. Under the current law in the state of Wisconsin, DACA recipients cannot serve as city police officers or deputy sheriffs. They can however serve as state patrol officers because that agency falls under the Department of Transportation. The proposed legislation would give local law enforcement agencies the authority to adjust their department policies and hire those individuals.
21-year-old Jose Del Rio is a DACA recipient who arrived to the United States from Mexico with his parents at the age of 2. He says that he want to fulfill his dream of becoming a Police Officer. Under the current laws in Wisconsin, he is unable to make that dream a reality. “You come here to America to educate yourself and continue on. My dream is to become a Police Officer. Unfortunately, right now I am unable to do that. There is a law in Wisconsin that prohibits me from becoming an Officer,” said Del Rio. Today’s development, gives him hope that his dream will actually come true.
“These are people who can serve in the United States military. If we trust them to defend the country, then it only makes sense to extend the same trust when they ask to serve and protect their communities,” said Rep. David Steffen. Local 5’s Eric Richards spoke with Marine Bruno, who immigrated to the United States from France when she was eleven-years old. “When I came to this Country, I did not even know how to speak English. Coming to this country, I had no family other than my parents, it was terrifying as a child,” said Bruno. Now she is twenty-two and headed towards a career in the military. ” I have always thought that serving in the military is a great way to given back, for all that I was able to do and receive while here,” said Bruno.
State Representative John Macco says that getting bill 2019 passed will only increase a police department’s options when looking for new candidates. ” When there is so much division and disagreement on what to do next, we need to focus on what we can agree on. This bill will add another tool to local law enforcement’s toolbox and allow them to tap into a well-qualified and diverse pool of candidates that want to serve their communities in a productive and positive way,” said Rep. Macco.
The bill will most-likely be included in a larger package for presentation. Both Representatives Macco and Steffen say they welcome an open dialogue with anyone who has an opinion on this and any other proposed laws. To take a look at the Wisconsin State Legislature visit: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/