Proposal Opens Door for Non-Citizens to Serve as Police, Firefighters

( – If two members of the Denver City Council have their way, the city will be bolstering its ranks of law enforcement and first responders by allowing non-citizens to serve as police officers and firefighters.

The proposal was put forward by Jamie Torres, the president of the city council, and council member Amanda Sandova. Under the proposed measure, non-citizens – which would include permanent legal residents and recipients of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) – would be allowed to join the ranks of the police or the fire department as long as they secure a legal permit to work in the U.S.

The situation is unique to Denver, which has a provision in its city charter that specifically requires that police officers or firefighters must be U.S. citizens in order to apply for any open positions. The Denver Sheriff’s Department, however, already has the authority to hire non-citizens. In 2016, the department was involved in a federal settlement where it was found to have discriminated against migrant applicants even if they had legal permits to work in the U.S.

While the respective chiefs of Denver’s fire department and police department have sent letters saying that they are in favor of the proposal, the measure will need to go through several more steps before it sees final implementation, if ever. The proposal will need to be formally introduced in a bill – which could happen in April this year. Another hurdle the proposal will have to overcome is a ballot initiative – which could occur in November – since it involves changing the city’s charter.

Axios Denver reported that the Denver firefighters union, Local 858, refused to issue a comment on the matter, saying that they were still in the process of gathering more information on the proposal. The Denver Police Protective Association, which is the union representing police officers in the city, did not respond to the news outlet’s request for comment.

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