People of SU / Society / Justice and Law

Seattle U in the News: Allow Dreamers to become police officers to better serve our communities

October 30, 2019

A guest opinion column penned by three professors in Seattle U's Criminal Justice program urges changes to state law to allow "Dreamers" to become police officers.

The opinion column focuses on the story of Seattle University public safety officer David Morales-Rosales, a DACA recipient whose dream is to become a police officer. Authors are Jacqueline B. Helfgott PhD, professor of criminal justice and director, Crime & Justice Research Center; Peter A. Collins PhD, associate professor of criminal justice; and Matthew J. Hickman PhD, associate professor of criminal justice and chair, Criminal Justice Department.


"Morales-Rosales met with an enormous obstacle that most other criminal justice graduates do not: Morales-Rosales is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipient. DACA, established by President Barack Obama in 2012, provides temporary protection from deportation, work authorization and the ability to apply for a Social Security number for undocumented immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” who came to the U.S. before age 16."

"After searching for opportunities for more than a year, Morales-Rosales was ecstatic to find a supportive chief in Colorado Springs who was willing to give him a chance. Morales-Rosales was hired by the Colorado Springs Police Department earlier this year. He moved his family, including his wife who was pregnant, and two small children from Seattle to Colorado and had his third child there. Morales-Rosales entered the Colorado Police Academy and was on his way to fulfilling his dream. Five weeks later, the academy discovered that Morales-Rosales could not be certified to carry a firearm under Colorado state law requiring U.S. citizenship to carry a firearm. Morales-Rosales and his family returned to Seattle and to his position as a Seattle University public safety officer."