Monday, April 15, 2024

Law Enforcement Express Opposition to Arizona Law

Arizona Watch

In a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday in Washington, police chiefs from across the nation expressed their concerns over the outfall of the new Arizona law.

Chiefs of police who attended the meeting said they believe that punitive measures, such as SB 1070 which target the Latino community, will damage relationships that local police have worked hard to establish particularly in immigrant communities.

“When you enact legislation that makes any subset of that community feel like they are being targeted specifically or have concerns about coming forward and talking to the police, that damages our capability to obtain information to solve the crimes that we need to work with,” said Roberto Villasenor, Chief of Police for Tucson, AZ.

Despite anti-immigrant advocates cry of rampant violence in Arizona, the crime rate in Tucson has actually dropped by 7 percent since last year.  Villasenor believes that cooperation between the community and the police department is key to this decline.

Salt Lake City chief of police Chris Burbank said of the Arizona law, “We don’t believe that it will reduce crime in our communities.  In fact, as you look in our Latino communities, they are not responsible — even those individuals who are undocumented — for committing more crime in our communities. So this effort will not reduce crime. In fact, the majority of us feel that it will actually increase crime in our communities.”

Utah, as well as several other states, is considering passing measures similar to Arizona’s.

Among those attending the meeting with the Attorney General were police chiefs from Houston, Los Angeles, Maryland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, Salt Lake City and Tucson.

The Justice Department is considering formally challenging the Arizona law which goes into effect at end of July.