It’s no secret that more and more politicians have targeted law enforcement with anti-police legislation. Thankfully, the Arizona Police Association (APA), a state labor group made up of more than 12,000 officers and over 50 police agencies, was hard at work fighting for the rights and interests of Arizona law enforcement, corrections, detention and probation officers in the legislative process on the local, state and national levels.
Thanks to the immense effort of the APA, several important bills were recently approved during the Arizona State Legislature’s 56th session that will benefit public safety.
Approved Bills That APA Supported
HB 2319: Law enforcement activity; recording prohibition: This bill makes it illegal to record an officer without permission within 15 feet of law enforcement activity.
HB 2159: Law enforcement officers; polygraph; examinations: This is our 38-1100 Officer Bill of Rights legislation, and it has four main components:
- 38-1104 and 38-1108: Eliminates the use of polygraphs in administrative investigations. Although most agencies rarely use them now due to their unreliability, this bill will eliminate their use statewide.
- 38-1106: Affirmatively allows the hearing officer in an administrative appeal to consider as a mitigating factor any violation of 38-1100 in the determination of discipline.
- 38-1110: In the event of multiple officers involved in the same investigation, if it is determined that any individual officer has not committed any wrongdoing, that officer must be provided a notice of findings and exited out of the investigation as it proceeds. The officer would still be under advisement not to speak about the investigation.
- 38-1112: Adds psychological examinations to fitness-for-duty exams. The current law is silent on psychological exams. This provision provides the same protections and procedures for psychological exams as it does for physical exams. It also now requires the agency to provide the officer with a copy of the medical report within five days of the department receiving it.
SB 1268: PSPRS; deferred retirement option plan: This bill extends the current DROP plan from five to seven years. It would likely have a different rate of return from the original DROP plan. This is to encourage and incentivize officers to stay longer to help address the current staffing crisis. The bill will also create a task force to address possible plan improvements to tiers 2 and 3 to assist in recruitment and retention of officers.
HB 2862: Appropriations; DPS and corrections pay increases: This bill requires the arresting officer to advise an arrest juvenile their rights and to notify the parents as practicable upon juvenile arrest. This bill was extensively amended to have less the impact on officers and investigations.
HB 2721: Law enforcement officers; AZPOST: This bill requires any entities (with some exceptions) that investigate or discipline law enforcement officers to have as their members at least two-thirds of law enforcement officers from the same department on those entities. This bill reinstated the provision of the original bill that was struct due to the “single-subject” lawsuit by the city of Phoenix.
HB 2349: Peace officer standards board; membership: This bill changes the requirement so that one of the two officer representatives will no longer have to be a deputy (a deputy can still serve as one of the officers). Both officers must still be non-supervisors.
HB 2343: Interfering with a crime scene investigation; classification: This bill classifies disobeying a peace officer’s verbal order to remain off the premises of a possible crime scene as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Approved Bills That APA Opposed
While there were many APA-backed bills that were approved, there were, unfortunately, some that were opposed that still went through. Still, the APA will continue fighting for PLEA members to ensure their rights and safety are a top priority against these harmful public safety bills.
HB 2309: Detained juveniles; advisements; notifications: This bill requires the arresting officer to immediately advise an arrest juvenile of their rights and to notify the parents of the juvenile arrest within 90 minutes.
HB 2518: Peace officers; liability; unlawful acts: This bill eliminates qualified immunity.
HB 2358: Sexual assault; survivor’s rights: This bill has some issues of concern as to implementation and operational impact, as well as investigative and prosecution compromise, such as providing an unredacted copy of the investigation at any time the victim asks for it.
HB 2222: Independent corrections oversight committee: This bill creates a very heavyweight inmate advocacy oversight board.
HB 2688: Prisoner searches; requirements: This bill places safety and operational challenges on DOC officers’ ability to conduct inmate searches.
SB 1166: Public employers: public monies: contracts: union activities: standing: state preemption: definitions: This bill eliminates public employer union contracts and union activities, including being able to lobby or advocate for a political candidate.
Other Approved Legislation
HB 2347: Law enforcement; misconduct investigations; extension: An employer shall make a good faith effort to complete any investigation of employee misconduct within 180 calendar days after the employer receives notice of the allegation by a person authorized by the employer to initiate an investigation of the misconduct. The investigation is considered complete on the date the employee is served with the notice of discipline or the notice of findings.
HB 2340: Disciplinary appeals; final disposition reporting: In any appeal of a disciplinary action by a law enforcement officer, the parties shall cooperate with each other, act in good faith and exchange copies of all relevant documents and a list of all witnesses pursuant to the following time periods and requirements.