Call To Action: Arizona law makers have proposed a law (SB1445) to keep an officers name a secret for at least 90 days, when involved in the murder of a citizen. If passed into law, this will become the precedent for every city and state in America, including yours.
*Step #1: Send the following State Law Makers an email: (Cut & Paste from the addresses below)
EMAIL ADDRESSES WERE REMOVED AFTER ‘VETO’ RESOLUTION WAS REACHED
*Step #2: Cut & Paste the message below into the email you’ll send, or craft your own message.
Members of The House,
SB 1445, which would exempt from public disclosure for 90 days the name of a peace officer involved in a use-of-force incident, is bad public policy for several reasons.
First, the bill is contrary to the long tradition of open government under the Arizona law, which provides that records describing the official acts of government agencies and their employees are presumptively subject to prompt public inspection. SB 1445 delays for three months the public’s ability to know one of the most basic facts of a police incident: the name of an officer or deputy involved in a use-of-force incident. SB 1445 turns the Public Records Law’s presumption of prompt access to official records on its head, making it more difficult for citizens to monitor law enforcement agencies.
Second, the bill is unnecessary. Existing law permits law enforcement to withhold the name of an officer involved in a use-of-force incident where disclosure of the name poses a threat to the officer’s safety. Indeed, the Arizona Public Records Law permits such information to be withheld on a case-by-case basis, whenever agencies can show that disclosure of the name would violate privacy, confidentiality or the best interests of the state, including an officer’s safety. SB 1445 takes this decision out of the hands of those in the best position to make this decision – police departments and sheriff’s offices – and instead imposes a mandatory 90-day waiting period for the public to get basic facts about a use-of-force incident. Any mandatory delay of the public’s right of access – whether 90 days or some other arbitrary number — would thwart the public’s fundamental rights. Consequently, SB 1445 would halt the flow of information to the public about the official activities of law enforcement, would encourage misinformation and speculation, and would foster distrust of law enforcement agencies.
Third, in addition to the protections above, A.R.S. §§ 11-483 and 39-123 provide an exemption from disclosure of the home addresses and telephone numbers of peace officers. These safeguards help protect the safety of peace officers without undercutting the public’s ability to monitor the official, on-the-job activities of police agencies.
Finally, there is no greater exercise of government power than the use of force by peace officers. SB 1445 would likely undermine confidence in law enforcement agencies by shielding from public inspection the names of officers in every use-of-force incident, even where there is no risk of harm posed by disclosure. Because SB 1445 prohibits the public from promptly monitoring one of law enforcement’s most basic functions, we urge you to oppose SB 1445.
*Step #3: Sign & help circulate the ACLU’s Petition AGAINST Secret Police:
*Step #4: Follow the link below for updates & other important information on SB-1445
*Hashtags for Social Media inclusion:
#KillBill1445 #NoSecretPolice #DougDucey #ScandalInAZ