The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Essex County Sheriffs Department

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Essex County Sheriff’s Department on Monday over records the ACLU wants to review related to immigration enforcement. The ACLU contends in the suit filed in Washington Superior Court that it has been trying since January to get public records from the department related to its interactions with federal agencies concerned with border protection. The organization wants to assess the department’s compliance with Vermont’s Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP). The policy clarifies the circumstances in which law enforcement officers can consider personal characteristics or citizenship/immigration status when making law enforcement decisions.  The ACLU developed a concern that the Essex County Sheriff’s Department may be running afoul of the policy based upon comments Sheriff Trevor Colby reportedly made in a news article. The article, published in December 2023  “suggested that ECSD either did not understand or was willfully not complying with FIPP.” The complaint notes that in the article, “Colby emphasized that his priority is to keep residents within his jurisdiction safe, and people in his relatively remote part of the state get shaken up when they see unfamiliar folks. Up there, he said, everyone basically knows everyone. Colby said he would likely call immigration authorities after a traffic stop if he thought the people in the car were undocumented.” Towns in Essex County are along the Canadian border.