FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Criminal Justice Degrees - Columbia Southern University
Let Columbia Southern University help you change your community with an MBA in...

Top News

American Law Enforcement Agencies Hiring Non-Citizen Officers

March 23, 2015  | 

Law enforcement agencies struggling to fill their ranks or connect with their increasingly diverse populations are turning to non-citizen legal immigrants to fill the gap.

Most agencies in the country require officers or deputies to be U.S. citizens, but some are allowing immigrants who are legally in the country to wear the badge. From Hawaii to Vermont, agencies are allowing green-card holders and legal immigrants with work permits to join their ranks.

At a time when 25,000 non-U.S. citizens are serving in the U.S. military, some feel it's time for more police and sheriff departments to do the same. That's why the Nashville Police Department is joining other departments to push the state legislature to change a law that bars non-citizens from becoming law enforcement officers.

Department spokesman Don Aaron told USA Today they want immigrants who have been honorably discharged from the military to be eligible for service.

"Persons who have given of themselves in the service to this country potentially have much to offer Tennesseans," he said. "We feel that ... would benefit both the country and this city."

Comments (17)

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17

Grant Johnson @ 3/24/2015 4:39 PM

Funny how things change. Anyone remember Ian Page (Santa Monica, Calif, PD)?

Thomas [former INS Deputy District Director] insisted that Page "is illegally in the United States and has been illegally in the United States since he accepted unauthorized employment from the Santa Monica Police Department."

Joe @ 3/24/2015 4:51 PM

If you are legally in America and you truly want to give back to America by becoming a police officer. Then show how patriotic you are by taking a test and becoming an American citizen. It's that simple. No person who is not a citizen should be allowed to wear the uniform of a police officer.

FireCop @ 3/25/2015 5:31 AM

Canada has done this for a long time. As long as you have more personnel working background checks than you do internal affairs, you should be okay.

Columbo 63 @ 3/25/2015 1:52 PM

I had just started in South Central LA when the SMPD hired Ian Page. We had an applicant who had retired from the USN as a Senior Master Chief after 30+ years. He was rejected as he had never filed for citizenship and was still technically a Mexican citizen. I think that was the correct decision.

kevCopAz @ 3/25/2015 4:02 PM

Joe I agree with you 100%, sorry FireCop you a fail to grasp a very important concept. You are willing to allow a non-citizen, one who can not vote, can not even sit on jury since he is not a peer to arrest, detain, and possibly take your life? "JOE" is correct, if you are worthy to be a COP, then you also owe this Nation to become a US citizen. Once you have done that GOD BLESS you!. We in Law Enforcement are not "mercenaries" from foreign nations policing the public for a Government, recall the Hessians? King George thought this was OK for a Foreigner to police his citizens….how did that work? Further, keep in mind its not just Green Card folks, no, under the Obama administration even the "temporary folks" will have work permits, do you want them to police you? Why not just hire them to police the Boarder,guess that would be legal under this way of thinking.Then you will have those that broke the Law (entering illegally) policing CITIZENS and the very border they snuck past in INS

stan @ 3/26/2015 11:38 PM

As an officer in immigration, I think this might be a good idea, similar to what the military does for LPRs. I have several teens in my Explorer program that are LPRs who want to be cops in the US. Two are planning on getting their citizenship. One has to wait another three years before she qualifies to become a US citizen.

stan @ 3/26/2015 11:41 PM

My youngest daughter isn't a USC because she didn't live in the US long enough before her 14th birthday, but she wants to be a cop here. I say hire her. She comes from a family of military and cops. I'd be proud to have her stand the thin blue line with me.

OzCop @ 6/4/2015 10:28 AM

The article refers to green card holders and those LEGAL immigrants with work authorization, meaning they have come to the US LEGALLY, had extensive background checks conducted by Immigration, have social cards and are paying taxes just like everyone else. If an individual has the skills and ability to be a police officer and wants to serve their community and is authorized to work then they should be allowed to apply like anyone else. The argument that you will have "those that broke the law...policing citizens" indicates a failure to understand the situation and what agencies are trying to do. As for 'mercenaries', America is happy to have foreign citizens join the ranks of the military and fight for their freedoms, but god forbid you give them the ability to arrest you for BREAKING THE LAW. Any individual in this country legally, with the education, skills, ability and desire to serve should be given that opportunity and treated with the same respect as the rest of us.

Batista @ 8/11/2015 6:12 PM

I just graduated high school, I have always loved learning about the law and criminology and I am planning on studying it at my local university. There is one small obstacle, I am not a US Citizen but have a DACA Permit, and have lived in this country for more than a decade. My dad doesn't want me to study Criminology because he believes I wont be given a chance to work in that chosen field. All I want is to protect and keep people safe, that is something a piece a paper wont do. This article really gives me hope for my future, and I hope that in the 5 years that I will be in college something changes to give me that opportunity.

Elchapo @ 1/25/2016 9:26 AM

it's funny, but it was time to go fight in the Iraq and Afghanistan war... they didn't ask me for no citizenship document because it was a 50-50% of coming back because my boot were in the ground. After 10 years of risking my life for this nation... i'm unable to become a police officer.... #Welcome to America,

Unknown @ 3/6/2016 3:05 PM

I am a South African and I just recently moved to Texas, I don't think it is fair that America does not allow non citizens to be apart of their police forces. A person who qualifies and has experience is good enough for the job. What America is doing is denying immigrants the right to jobs, Which I think is really not fair and why should us immigrants have to wait 5 years for us to do what we want. KevCopAz you say an immigrant can possibly take your life, guess what so can any is US citzen, think about what you guys are saying because if you were on the other side of all of this then you would also be offended.

Bernard @ 7/6/2016 1:19 PM

Hi! I'm from the philippines and currently a police officer for almost 9 years and as well a criminal investigators for more than 2 yrs. am also a criminologist, im interested to work with any agency in your country as long as inline with my training and my qualification. I am very much willing to undergo any training if require me to do so. Thank you!

Andre @ 9/12/2016 2:00 PM

Would be really helpful if we had a list of PDs accepting Green Card holders applications. I have been looking for a list and I couldn't find one. Than You!

PRIT PATEL @ 11/20/2016 4:28 PM

hi sir
I am greencard holder, and actually i am leaving in NEW JERSEY. I WANT TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER. i got no idea go where, and my age is 26,
Is that any way to become a police officer as a green card holder. i dont want to wait till citizenship, that take 2 more year for me. so i dont want west this 2 year. i actually applied in civil service of nj too. but they need citizenship as a low.. so i cant find any way to get this.
i hope you reply me soon WITH THE SOLUTION..

furqan @ 12/1/2016 3:03 AM

Sir, i wish to do a job in USA police. Can u help me plzzz.... I will wait for your reply....

Den Chris @ 4/18/2017 6:41 AM

Visit the following link for a list of police departments that accept non-citizens:

Paula @ 10/8/2017 12:27 PM

A list of these agencies would be super helpful!

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Texas Department Wants to Eliminate College Requirement for Officers
In an effort to increase the number of potential new recruits eligible to join the agency,...
New Los Angeles Sheriff Shaking Up Top Ranks, Removing 18 Executives
Newly elected Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has reportedly notified nearly...

Police Magazine