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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
Arizona has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants.
Arizona has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments. In fact, recent years have seen the Arizona State Police receive 66 rifles from the federal government and the Phoenix Police Department receiving an armored tank.
Military style training
Starting in 2013, the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy began instructing recruits in the Blue Courage model of policing. This philosophy is woven into the curriculum of the academy, with recruits spending almost 400 hours throughout the course of their training with Blue Courage instructors.
Arizona has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
Arizona has not yet enacted a law ending civil asset forfeiture. The state earned a D- from the Insititute for Justice for its civil asset forfeiture laws.
Arizona has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests. A bill (HB 2410) which would have banned such quotas passed through the State Senate and House in 2015 with ease but was vetoed by Governor Doug Ducey (R). He stated he was not against a bill working to ban quotas but believed the bill went too far and would otherwise hinder law enforcement agencies, though no other quota specific bill was passed at a later date.
Cost of misconduct
Arizona has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct. In Phoenix, they require the city police department to pay into a central risk fund with the premium being determined by the department's history of police conduct issues.
Ballot Proposal 207, passed in the November 2020 election, legalized limited marijuana use for individuals over the age of 21 and allows for certain marijuana offenders to seek to have their records expunged. However, many other non-violent offenses remain criminalized.
Objective justification for stops
Arizona has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description). In 2015, the AZ Supreme Court recognized that police can stop and detain a person briefly with reasonable suspicion, which requires only a minimal level of objective justification to suspect a crime or suspicious activity is in progress or has occurred.
Reporting stop details
In January 2003, the Arizona Department of Public Safety began voluntarily collecting data regarding traffic and pedestrian stops. In 2006, as part of a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit, DPS agreed to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of stop data being collected by Officers. DPS contracted with Dr. Robin Engel and the University of Cincinnati Policing Institute to conduct this analysis over a three year period. These reports included breakdowns of traffic stops by gender, race, etc. However, no report of this nature has been produced since 2009.
Reckless civil rights violation
Arizona has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights. Officers in the Grand Canyon State are shielded from liability unless their actions are deemed willful.
Arizona has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovitch (R) has called for third-party investigations of police use of force cases and has offered his department as a potential option. Currently, they only have the power to assist in investigations if requested by the local department, which is rare. Notably, in a statement released in mid-November 2020, the Arizona Police Association indicated their support for an independent team to investigate officer-involved shootings.
Arizona has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
Beginning in 2014, Arizona stakeholders and legislators worked together to ensure that police officers could bring anyone in a mental health crisis to a state crisis care center and that the person would be attended to in less than 10 minutes. This system allows those experiencing a mental health episode to receive the care they need in a safe environment. However, officers still respond directly to these mental health calls. Notably, In a statement released in mid-November 2020, the Arizona Police Association urged legislators to review mental health transport laws.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.
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