The Prince George's County Police Department is specifically barring officers from serving immigrants with civil warrants after multiple people were wrongfully referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It is now written policy that Prince George's officers can only cooperate with ICE in criminal matters, including human trafficking, customs violations and terrorist activities.
“Let me be clear about one thing: there will not be any consideration of immigration status with respect to the investigation of crimes in Prince George’s County,” said Prince George's Police Chief Hank Stawinski in a press conference.
Stawinski said it is his job to enforce county law, not to create it, and that it is up to federal law enforcement to deal with immigration issues, not local police departments.
The Washington Post found at least three undocumented individuals were put into deportation proceedings after an interaction with a Prince George's police officer, even though the county says it doesn't enforce civil orders for the federal government. Civil orders can include a court summons or an order for deportation.
The police chief called the incident a “mistake” and apologized to the people impacted.
Stawinski said in an officer training video that officers mistakenly confused civil warrants for criminal warrants in the National Crime Information Center database, then contacted ICE.
"I have no doubt these officers were operating in good faith," he said. The officers involved have not been named and it's unclear how many people were affected.
Prince George's ICE Cooperation Policy
In response to the alleged confusion, Stawinski said he plans to circulate a detailed policy laying out when Prince George's officers can cooperate with ICE.
Here's what you need to know about the new policy, per the chief's training video:
Individuals cannot be detained on administrative warrants and other civil warrants from ICE and will be released. ICE should not be contacted if a person faces these types of warrants.
Police can detain individuals for one hour to determine whether ICE should be contacted, police say. Prince George's Officers must look at the underlying reason behind a warrant before contacting ICE. Officers can contact their supervisor to determine whether a warrant is criminal or civil.
Prince George's County officers should only cooperate with ICE on criminal matters, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, customs enforcement and gang crimes.
If a person has a criminal warrant, the person will be detained while the case is confirmed with ICE.
Have a news tip? Email it to Tips@NBCWashington.com