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Last-minute Arizona bills focus on police accountability

PHOENIX — There was a last-minute push in the Arizona Legislature to introduce bills intended to increase police transparency and accountability to help build trust in the community.

Two Democratic state lawmakers filed police-related bills Monday, which was the deadline to file new legislation in the state’s House of Representatives

The first bill came from Reginald Bolding. He wanted to prevent officers with a lengthy history of disciplinary action from easily switching from one law enforcement department to another.

Bolding proposed creating a disciplinary database for all law enforcement officials similar to those used for doctors and attorneys.

“(The database) makes available real-time actions taken against law enforcement officers for any disciplinary action substantiated public or internal complaint for agencies before hiring those law enforcement officers,” he said.

Democrat lawmaker Rep. Ken Clark filed a bill aimed at rebuilding trust between police and the public.

He said Arizonans are losing faith in police because a few bad cops slip through the cracks and are not prosecuted after they break the law while on duty.

The bill is designed to remove any conflict of interests or pro-police favoritism in the judicial process after a use-of-force incident. It would require independent third-party investigators to look into officer-involved shootings.

“(The bill requires) either an investigator from a neighboring police office or police department or a county attorney from a neighboring county,” he said.

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