I don’t want a sanctuary city, I want a safe city. I’m a chief of police, and it’s important to serve a community that trusts me and my officers. Without trust, our ability to protect an entire city is compromised.

This is why police departments across the nation continually work to build trust and confidence in every segment of our citizenry, including our immigrant communities. Historically, immigrants have often feared and mistrusted the police. And when people feel safe talking to the police, we all have a better and safer community.

Law enforcement should have a vested interest on the issue of immigration because it affects our ability to police in a way that adds value to community. As a police leader, I worry that we might have human trafficking, sex trafficking and drug trafficking in my city and I don’t know about it because of immigrants’ fear of deportation if they report crime to police.

This fear creates breeding grounds for criminal enterprises and undermines safe communities. This is why policies, misinformation and hateful rhetoric surrounding undocumented immigrants can place more people in danger.

This isn’t about politics. It’s about people. It is time to have a louder voice on this issue because it affects our ability to do our job effectively. We cannot wait for our elected officials to figure this out, although we hope they will soon. Police must deal with the realities of what’s occurring in our cities in both urban and rural America today.

Read more of Chief Andy Harvey’s op/ed in the Dallas Morning News.

Read Chief Harvey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Police are on the front lines of the immigration debate