Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation yesterday to increase the severity of the punishment for attacks on law enforcement officers that are motivated by hatred against law enforcement.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1366, establishes malice against law enforcement as an aggravating factor when sentencing criminals who assault police officers.
Heated debate arose from the Legislature over the law dubbed, the Blue Lives Matter Bill. Those against the legislation said the bill was trying to create a problem that doesn’t exist, saying there is no existing quantitative data that shows off-duty police officers face a problem being assaulted because of their profession.
According to the FBI 50,212 on-duty officers were assaulted across the country in 2015 with Arizona accounting for 1,900 of the assaults. Numbers for off-duty assaults are not available.
In signing the bill, Gov. Ducey said the legislation shows the state supports the law enforcement officers who keep it safe.
“Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to defend our communities and keep our streets safe,” Ducey said in a statement. “Their job is dangerous enough already and we have zero tolerance for anyone who would target officers simply for doing their jobs. This legislation sends the clear message that Arizona stands firmly by its men and women in uniform, and I am proud to sign it.”