Arizona governor vetoes bill shielding names of officers

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has vetoed legislation requiring law enforcement agencies to keep the names of officers involved in shootings secret for two months.
The legislation was inspired by a deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and other similar incidents around the country. The American Civil Liberties Union says Arizona appears to be the only state in the country to approve new rules that limit the release of officer names in shootings.
Ducey's decision to veto the bill Monday came amid pressure from police chiefs to nix the legislation. They believe the proposal would hamper their ability to manage complex police-community relations. Civil rights groups and media organizations also opposed the measure and urged the Republican governor to use his veto stamp.
Police unions supported the bill, saying it will give time for investigations to play out. They have called it a common-sense measure that will ensure officer safety, while civil rights groups said the bill was unnecessary.

"There is already strong existing safe guards in Arizona law that give police chiefs the discretion to withhold names the names of police officers if they feel their officers are at risk," said Alessandra Soler of the American Civil Liberties Union.  "It was also completely out of line with what we know about best practices when it comes to transparent policing. The entire country is having a conversation about the need to improve police community relations and the longer that this information is kept from the public, the greater the mistrust."

In his veto, Gov. Ducey said he was sympathetic to the safety concerns for officers, but agreed that existing laws allow police chiefs to address those concerns.

Fact Sheet:
SB1445 - public records; peace officer's name

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.

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