But the passions around this issue suggest something larger than just confusion about procedure or jurisdiction. The Shaw case opens onto a set of crises around crime, illegal immigration, gangs, proper policing roles and the difficulty of ensuring the rights of citizens and non-citizens in Southern California. For some, Special Order 40 is a symbol of L.A.'s collapse into a lawless "sanctuary city." For others it's crucial to the goal of protecting human rights, while still others see it as an important tool in maintaining civil order. There are plenty of other views as well, and though they don't all have direct bearing on Special Order 40, they speak to the tension and anger felt by many locals.
Constance Rice, co-founder and co-director of the Advancement Project
Special Order 40 is absolutely essential for any workable law enforcement system in Southern California. There will be no integrity to our criminal justice system without it. African Americans can not be advocating racial profiling, which is what ending Special Order 40 would amount to.
Harry Gamboa Jr., artist
Special Order 40 must be respected so that all people can confidently approach the LAPD for emergency assistance or to provide vital information regarding criminal activity. The LAPD should not be as cold as ICE.
Daryl F. Gates, LAPD chief, 1978-1992
Special Order 40 has been following me all these years. It was written at a different time in history, when the state attorney general said illegal entry was not our business, no one was paying attention to the influx of illegals into Southern California, and the community did not seem to be concerned. We had a lot of illegals here who had been victims of crimes, and we wanted to help them. So for one thing, it would help cooperation, and two, I didn't want my guys asking every brown-faced person if they were citizens. That was the purpose of Special Order 40. It was never ever designed to protect criminals. But today the issue is no Special Order 40; it's gangs. The city not doing enough, and it should use every tool available to us to combat gangs. If that means asking them if they're illegal and deporting them, so be it. This is not about Special Order 40, it's about using every legal tool to combat gangs. I don't see any reason for an amendment to the order, but I'm all for Dennis Zine doing something about it. I believe the LAPD has every ability to go after gangs, and to use immigration to do that. Any gang member ought to be fair game.
James Q. Wilson, Ronald Reagan professor of public policy at Pepperdine University
Special Order 40 should be tailored to ensure that the police can retain good relations with witnesses and victims, some of whom may be immigrants. Having Special Order 40 used in this way does not make Los Angeles a "sanctuary city" because all arrestees must tell jail custodians about their immigration status.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Assistant to the Speaker of the House
Special Order 40 exists to catch criminals, not protect them. It exists to enhance cooperation with police by all residents of Los Angeles, regardless of status. It should not be the responsibility of Los Angeles' police officers already stretched thin to fill the gap left by the federal government's inadequate enforcement of its immigration laws.
Gustavo Arellano, columnist, OC Weekly
I support Special Order 40 because, from Darryl Gates to Bratton, LAPD chiefs have said it's crucial to stop crime. But there is no "side" to whether you're for or against the measure: Both those who support and oppose it want to combat crime. Proponents and opponents of Special Order 40 should understand this and work together rather than engage in their respective political conspiracies.
Joe Hicks, Vice President of Community Advocates Inc.
I am deeply opposed to Special Order 40. Anything that makes it more difficult for the LAPD to do its job is not a good idea. I think the streets would be a lot safer if we had moved years ago to remove this rule that makes it harder for the police to their job.
Rev. Jarlath Cunanne, Pastor, Parish of Saint Thomas the Apostle
Some of us in the community work very hard to build up trust and communication between the police department and the community. Special Order 40 is very important to that, and its removal would serve only to break down communications and the advances in community policing that have been made. We also need our police, who are already stretched thin, to be focused on hard crime in the neighborhood, and not on other things.