Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bolding works to encourage trust between law enforcement agencies and community members

Bolding works to encourage trust between law enforcement agencies and community members

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix (District 27), responding to community concerns, introduced two bills meant to increase trust and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and community members.

“Recently, I’ve had many conversations with people in my district who are concerned about the number of police-involved shootings across the country and in Arizona,” Bolding said. “And I have talked to law enforcement officers who want the public to be more engaged in protecting their communities. I’ve introduced two bills that should help foster a stronger working relationship between our neighborhoods and our law enforcement agencies,” Bolding said.

HB 2511 requires local and state law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while on duty, to ensure both their own safety and the safety of the communities they protect. It would also establish a study committee for law enforcement officer body cameras. HB 2512 would require an external review of any fatal officer-involved shootings. A law enforcement officer who is not from the same agency as the officer involved in a fatal shooting or a county attorney from another county would conduct the investigation. The investigator would be required to submit the report to the county attorney in the county in which the fatal shooting occurred.  This investigation would supplement the internal investigation conducted by the officer’s own agency.

The bills have earned the support of organizations including The National Bar Association, Black Lives Matter, Promise Arizona and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“This is an issue that is very important to the NAACP, and we applaud Rep. Bolding for introducing these bills,” State of Arizona NAACP President Charles Fanniel said. “This is a top priority for our organization.”

Bolding added that these bills would provide mutual protections for both community members and law enforcement officers.  He also said law enforcement agents in some Arizona cities and in at least five other states, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Florida, are using body cameras.  

“These bills are designed to increase transparency and build more trust within the community,” Bolding said.  “The practice of wearing body cameras and requiring external reviews of officer-involved shootings directly speaks to the safety and accountability needs of both community members and law enforcement officers.”

To see a full version of HB 2511, click here. To see a full version of HB 2512, click here.


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