Ark. police to get immigration training

Little Rock_Arkansas State Police troopers will be trained on how to examine and detect forged identity documents carried by suspected illegal immigrants, but will not have the power to make immigration arrests, officials said Tuesday.

Troopers in the field, radio operators and those at driver's licensing stations will learn about identification typically carried by immigrants, spokesman Bill Sadler said. If troopers found a suspected forgery, they would call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to continue the investigation and potentially make an arrest.

The agreement, signed Monday by state police director Col. Winford Phillips, also will give troopers access to a federal immigration database that can verify documents and check a suspect's immigration status.

Currently, four police agencies in northwest Arkansas have signed agreements with the federal agency and have the power to make arrests and run investigations. But Sadler said there was no discussion about state troopers making arrests.

Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said Tuesday the governor's office had seen a draft proposal of the agreement and signed off on it.

Jon Gambrell, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.