Sheriff Eli Rivera
Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera has been making headlines this week for his compassionate stance against working with federal immigration enforcers. Rivera, a longtime fixture in the community and multi-term sheriff, announced via his website last week:
After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.
It’s a welcome policy in a place where being brown or black makes one stick out like a sore thumb, given the population here in Cheshire County is about 96% white.
According to the Sentinel’s report on Rivera’s announcement Keene Police’s acting chief, Steve Russo has yet to comment on the issue, but his late predecessor Brian Costa‘s position was similar to Rivera’s, saying, “We have no interest going forward, nor do we have the resources for deputizing our officers as part of ICE to go out and seek illegal or undocumented immigrants…We govern ourselves by our mission statement”, which says KPD is “to protect life and property and to maintain order within the City while assuring fair and respectful treatment of everyone.”
Costa said of that mission statement in his interview with the Sentinel earlier this month, prior to his untimely passing, “It’s not just a group of words…It’s how we do business.”
It sounds like Sheriff Rivera is on the same page as Costa. In his excellent statement, Rivera continues:
KPD’s Late Chief Brian Costa
In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation…
If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the WMUR report on Rivera’s policy, some control-freak politicians are butthurt over this. Good. Unlike those cowardly politicians, kudos to Rivera for having the courage to do the right thing and truly protect the people of Cheshire county from the evil hands of the federal government. It would be better of course if Rivera would also stop cooperating with the feds on other victimless crime enforcement, like the insane War on Drugs, but this is a BIG step in the right direction.
I’m glad to live in a place where law enforcement acts more human, more often, than anywhere else I’ve ever been. You’ve got Rick Van Wickler, Cheshire County’s jail superintendent who is also a longtime speaker at Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a compassionate group of mostly former police which you may remember as being previously called, “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” until they expanded their mission to include other issues where police reform is badly needed, Van Wickler has been a constant presence in Concord at state house hearings about drug legalization, speaking strongly in favor of any efforts to end prohibition in New Hampshire. He also runs his jail much more compassionately than the supermajority of the others in the United States. Add to that, a relatively calm and approachable group of Keene police, and now this excellent news from Sheriff Rivera.
Thank you, Eli. You’ve earned my vote in the next election. The land known as Cheshire county in the Shire should be a sanctuary for all peaceful people. Your immigration policy helps us get closer to that ideal. Next step, NH seceding from the United States! Viva New Hampshire!
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Cheshire County Sheriff Office Employees
Cheshire County Sheriff (former KPD)
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Trevor S Croteau
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On August 16th, 2012, a town employee for the Town of Winchester filed a Federal Lawsuit for civil rights violations.
Daniel Rapucci Vs Winchester Police Dept.
Cheshire County, Cheshire County Sheriff’s Department, Richard A Foote, Kelvin Macie, Gary A Phillips, Christopher Roberts, Unknown Employees, Winchester Police Department and Winchester, Town of
Case Number: 1:2012cv00316
Filed: August 16, 2012
Court: New Hampshire District Court Concord Office
Nature of Suit: Civil Rights – Other Civil Rights
Cause: 28:1331 Federal Question: Other Civil Rights
The reason I’m posting this injustice on Keene Cop Block is because one of the defendants is former Cheshire County Deputy Sherriff Kelvin Macie who was fired and rehired by Keene Police Dept. See KPD Employees.
Kelvin J. Macie
By reading court documents and litigation it seems to me that Kelvin Macie illegally used his position to do an unauthorized favor type investigation for retaliatory purposes on behalf of Winchester Police Chief Gary Phillips.
This habit of Keene Police covering for officers and hiring family members of other Keene Police officers (Kyle Macie nephew of Kelvin Macie) after they’ve been let go from other departments for disciplinary reasons needs to stop. Keene Police Chief Kenneth Meola needs to resign along with all the upper brass. Not to mention at least two County Road Pirates are former KPD retirees, also these two former KPD employees were promoted just weeks before their retirement, Darrell Madden and Eli Rivera.
This whole thing was set off by former Sheriff Richard Foote who later turned in his resignation due to a lawsuit filed by a female officer Jackie Parker who is now a police officer in Pembroke, NH. Officer Parker filed a lawsuit against Winchester PD and reached an undisclosed settlement and court records were sealed. You can see details of this story also on http://winchesternhcorruption.blogspot.com/. This is one corrupt little police department and it’s a wonder why Keene Police would hire someone involved in all this .
On August 6th police departments across the states held “national night out” to try to better community relations.
I stopped by the Keene police department. Present was the BEARCAT – which was brought to town last year despite the overwhelming pushback from townsfolks who said “Thanks but no tanks!”
Right now, just an hour or so to the north, so-claimed “public officials” in Concord are attempting to do the same.
But hey – at least some folks at the LENCO plant down in Pitsfield, MA have jobs right?
They’re staying busy cranking out these vehicles. Thanks to federal money from the misnamed Department of Homeland Security – BEARCATS are now in 300 towns.
A DHS grant – which, to be clear, is coin stolen from taxpayers – also provided a mobile command center to the Cheshire County sheriffs – the outfit now headed by former Keene police employee Eli Rivera.
I was hopeful that I could finally have a conversation with someone who has thus far, played hard to get since my time in Keene.
Despite a number of attempts to initiate a convo, or even just get a reciprocal “hello” or “good afternoon” Ken Meola has steadfastly refused to engage. Perhaps today, in public, things would be different.