Opponents to rally against officer name protection bill

Should the public know the name of a police officer involved in a shooting?

That is the focus of a heated debate over a bill that may soon be on the Governor's desk.

The bill would allow Arizona police departments to keep the officers identity secret for two months following a shooting.

Several groups and the American Civil Liberties Union are against the bill.

It comes on the heels of protests in the valley and across the country, protests sparked by the shooting of an African-American teen in Ferguson, Missouri.

The bill would keep agencies from releasing the names of officers for 60 days. Exceptions would be made if the officer was arrested, charged with a crime, or agrees to let his name be released.

Phoenix Police became the focus of heated protests in December after the shooting death of Rumain Brisbon. Protesters demanded to know the name of the officer who shot Brisbon; the then Chief released the name days after the shooting.

"Police chiefs are political animals, and they are going to succumb to the pressure... and by having a hard and fast rule it actually kind of takes that political pressure off the table, everyone knows what the rule is," said Joe Klure with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

Klure says officers fear for their safety when their name is released.

"In this bill we are trying to protect the officer and his family, and at the same time be mindful of the community's right, and need to know what happened. The only thing we are asking to hold off on is the identity," said Klure.
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