Arizona Wants The Feds’ Help To Train Its Cops for SB 1070

By Julianne Hing Apr 28, 2010

On the same day that Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice was conducting a review of SB 1070’s constitutionality, the Arizona agency tasked with training its 15,000 law enforcement officers put out a call for some additional support. The Washington Post reported yesterday:

Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, says federal assistance is "critical" to what he describes as an unprecedented effort to prepare officers as soon as this summer to enforce the law, which gives local police authority to identify and arrest illegal immigrants. "Participation by federal authorities is critical in ascertaining how to implement a standard of enforcement," says Mann, who made the request through the Department of Homeland Security’s division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The measure takes effect 90 days after the state Legislature adjourns. With adjournment perhaps a week away, Mann says he may have to develop a curriculum and train all of the state’s 15,000 police, sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol officers and investigators by Aug. 1.

When RaceWire spoke with ACLU-Arizona’s Annie Lai last week, she said that when it comes to institutional safeguards to prevent racial profiling from law enforcement, adequate training is an essential part of that process. "All police in Arizona go through basic academy training [through AZ POST]," Lai said. "But after that, they can complete their credits through a combination of different courses." How not to racially profile people on the streets is just one of the courses, but not a mandatory part of law enforcement officers’ training. Lai doubted that Arizona’s police would get decent training, and was even more skeptical about the basic criteria police would be using to pull people over. Governor Jan Brewer issued an Exective Order demanding that her state’s police officers not racially profile people…while they were being profiled. In it, she said:

The course of training established by the board shall provide clear guidance to law enforcement officials regarding what constitutes reasonable suspicion, and shall make clear that an individual’s race, color, or national origin alone cannot be grounds for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated.

To which Lai said: "I understand why [Brewer] may have made those comments but I don’t think it’s realistic to ensure the public that a law like this will not lead to racial profiling."