Poughkeepsie council unanimously adopts “Safe City” designation


POUGHKEEPSIE – A resolution tabled two weeks ago over concerns by the police chief, and uncertainties by some council members, was unanimously approved in short order tonight.
The detailed resolution declaring “Safe City” status does not mention immigrants in the title, which states its intent to “… ensure public safety and protect the city’s financial resources.”
Councilman Mike Young, who coauthored the resolution with Council Chairwoman Natasha Cherry, said in the two-week interim, several constitutional questions were addressed and answered.
Among the issues, Young noted, is whether this forces the city to assume some enforcement of federal immigration laws.
 “The state attorney general and many other municipalities throughout the country, including our policy advisors highlight the fact that by volunteering to enforce these portions of federal law, we open ourselves up to liability if we don’t do that properly,” Young said.  “And, since we don’t have the sort of staffing and training to do that, it’s not really our place or in our best interests to take on those actions.”
Chief Thomas Pape, who asked for the delay in part to participate in a webinar covering many pertinent issues, assured the council this does not put unreasonable demands on him or his department.
“This is a fine well-crafted resolution,” Pape said.  “It in no way hinders the powers of the federal government or the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department.  It just puts down in writing what is already written by law and I fully support it.”
Several residents commented at the beginning of the meeting. 
One of the opponents tied it in with the lingering bus debate, wondering whether if the Safe City resolution did not pass, and the buses are transferred to county, ICE agents could come on the buses and take people off. 
Residents were split about two-to-one in favor of Safe City designation.   When the vote approving the designation was complete, following brief comments by council members, it was greeted with a sustained cheer. 

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