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Lawmakers wait to talk to Governor Ducey about police reform

Arizona Legislature's budget analysts predict 2018 shortfall
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 21:36:59-04

PHOENIX — On Monday, ABC15 learned that there may be some consensus about statewide police reform among Arizona legislators.

State Representative Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) said he believes enough of his Republican colleagues are on board to get at least three of the five policies Democratic leaders listed in a letter to Governor Ducey on June 2.​

"I know that we have the votes right now to pass the reform. Like 100% we have the votes," Bolding said.​

Proposed reforms include: ​

  • A police officer database that houses police discipline records meant to prevent agencies from hiring abusive officers that have been fired from another agency​
  • Cultural sensitivity and de-escalation training requirements, or peace officer certification​
  • Limited qualified immunity for officers; the measure would allow officers to be sued personally rather than the agency, if they have been found to act unlawfully​
  • Turning over the investigation in a deadly use-of-force case to outside investigators and prosecutors​
  • Body-worn cameras for officers across the state that record audio and video​

The reforms can only be passed this year if the governor includes them on the agenda of a special session. The governor is widely expected to call for one to address COVID19 funding.​

We asked Gov. Ducey's office what his response was to the letter that was sent outlining Democrats' reform ideas.​

Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak sent a statement that said, "The governor is talking to legislators of both parties, as you've seen in recent weeks. He's also talking to community leaders. We'll be working with the legislature on any additional legislative action now that Sine Die has occurred."​

The mention about "the governor talking to legislators in both parties," stood out because on Monday, Representative Bolding told ABC15 that no one in Ducey's office had contacted them about their letter.​

So on Wednesday, we checked again. And no one that ABC15 has contacted knows which, if any, legislators the governor is talking to about police reforms in a potential special session.​

In a written statement to ABC15, House Democratic spokesman Robbie Sherwood said, "There’s no change to what Co-whip Bolding has been saying since we asked for the special session. No contact with the Governor’s office one way or another with anybody in our House Democratic leadership."​

Josselyn Berry with the Senate Democrats wrote, "I just confirmed with our members in the Senate and the governor is not talking with any of them about this."​

Mike Philipsen, spokesman for Senate Republicans sent a statement that said, "I am not aware of any specific conversations about police reform."​

House Republicans did not respond to our request.​

We know from the governor's tweets that since recent protests against police brutality began, he has met with black mothers, black pastors and other black leaders to get their opinions.​

But it is the legislature that passes laws, and so far, it appears it is waiting for the governor to make a move.​