CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers spent the better part of Wednesday handing out fliers reminding people in Latino and immigrant communities that CMPD does not enforce immigration laws.
Raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) left many people in fear and some are even too afraid to call 911 for emergencies, according to CMPD.
So they went door to door and spoke face to face with business owners and residents to let them know they stand to protect and serve all people. It's a way of breaking down barriers one person at a time.
"We're here to help the Latino community in cases that they have," said one CMPD officer. "Criminal cases, accident cases or just general conversation, so they don't have fear of us when they approach us."
A spokesperson for ICE said the raids are part of the "new normal" earlier this year. More than a dozen people were arrested in Charlotte by ICE last month.
"I think they confused the police department with ICE," said one woman. "They go to work just because they have to, not because they don't get scared. They have to work and they go to work, but they're still scared."
CMPD said they're doing what they can to help Charlotte's immigrant communities and their residents.
"It's building that trust within the community. It doesn't matter what community it is, you're building that trust level where everybody's trying to work together and get along," said a CMPD officer. "There's a lot of things going on but as we work together and we build up that confidence in each other, it opens doors for everybody."
CMPD currently has 77 officers on staff that get extra pay because they speak Spanish.