A number of citizens spoke in favor and against a resolution passed today by the Reno City Council designating the community as a “welcoming city.”
The item was sponsored by Councilmen Oscar Delgado and David Bobzien.
“It’s not a change in laws or a change in direction to police officers,” Delgado said. “We are proud of what our community provides. I think this is clearly showing to them that they can count on the City of Reno to provide services to them.
“If you start to isolate groups for any reason, it’s ineffective and inefficient,” he stressed.
City officials said the measure is about building solid relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement.
“As a leader in community policing, RPD continues to build solid relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement,” Acting City Manager Bill Thomas said.
According to the city, RPD adopted policies more than 10 years ago that support impartial policing and prohibit bias-based policing.
“Our officers will not contact or stop a person solely on suspicion,” Acting Chief of Police Jason Soto said.
Those who spoke against the resolution called it a euphemism for sanctuary cities and cited crimes committed by undocumented U.S. residents. Those in favor said that the United States is a country founded on immigration.
Councilman Paul McKenzie criticized the comments made against the resolution.
“I don’t see where it talks about not following federal guidelines for immigration,” he commented. “I can’t see where (it gives) protections to felons. I’d have to ask if anyone who commented on the resolution actually read it. I don’t understand the arguments of people who argued against this resolution.”
Mayor Hillary Schieve called the measure compassionate and caring.
“It’s unfortunate that people can be cruel sometimes,” she said, noting that she avoids some social media now, primarily Facebook, because of it. “Some of the email that I get is so hateful and threatening.
“It’s a good thing to have these disagreements. One thing about this council is that you are all kind and compassionate people. Sometimes think about walking in someone else’s shoes.”
The resolution passed unanimously.
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Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.