Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin Grapples With ICE Relationship

Apr 5, 2019

Long time resident Lowell Griffin returns to the Henderson County Sheriff's office as sheriff after leading the narcotics department in Polk County.
Credit Henderson County Sheriff's Office

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this week that would force county sheriff departments to assist with detaining immigrants or face a stiff fine. This bill comes in the wake of many sheriff departments around the state choosing to end their cooperation with  Immigrations and Customs Enforcement through both detainers and the 287 (g) program.

Henderson County is among a handful of counties in the state that honors ICE detainers and participates in 287(g), an agreement that allows local law enforcement officials to collaborate with federal officials to enforce immigration laws. Host Frank Stasio talks with Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin about his choice to honor ICE detainers and his upcoming decision on whether or not to renew the 287 (g) contract in June. Griffin was sworn in as the new sheriff late last year, but he is hardly new to the area. The lifelong resident worked his way up through the ranks and attracted rural voters with his focus on community. His first order of business as sheriff was to dismantle the department’s structure. By dividing the county into four sections and assigning a district captain to each, he hopes to make law enforcement a more integral part of the community and establish a stronger relationship between his staff and residents.