'Blue Lives Matter' bill aims to protect off-duty officers

- Maricopa Republican Senator Steve Smith says his bill is meant to show law enforcement officers that Arizona stands behind them.

"I think they've got the hardest job in the country right now, and it doesn't need to be any harder," said Smith.

Smith sponsored SB 1366, what's now called the 'Blue Lives Matter' law.

Criminals who assault an off-duty police officer would face the same penalties as someone who attacks someone in uniform.

Right now, the two crimes are different.

"If you target an officer because he's a police officer, it doesn't matter if he or she is on duty or off, we just want to protect them," said Smith.

It's tough to argue against protecting law enforcement. Attorney Benjamin Taylor says that isn't his issue, but he's worried about unintended consequences.

"If this officer who's off duty, who's having a night on the town and gets aggressive prison time," said Taylor.

But Smith says those fears are overblown and it will be up to a judge to decide.

"Hey, that guys a cop down there and we had a little too much to drink. Nor does it speak to that, again the judge is going to determine what was targeting," said Smith. 

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