By Brett Mejia ’13
As SB 1070, Arizona’s 2010 tough stand on immigration, continues to be scrutinized, it may be the police department that finds itself in trouble.
SB 1070 is useless and unnecessary.
Others say the bill will help control the flow of illegal immigrants into this country.
Whatever the case may be, all that matters is the current issue at hand with the law.
Police officers now have to be very careful about the way they handle enforcing the law because if not done in the proper way, they can be sued.
According to Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic, “‘that is a fear and I think it’s a legitimate fear,’ said Lyle Mann, executive director of Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. ‘There’s one section of this that says if you don’t enforce to the full effect you can be sued. But if you enforce it and people think you are overstepping then you can be sued.’”
This is a reference to police being sued for failing to enforce the law, or being sued for profiling while just trying to enforce it.
As a citizen of Arizona, I find this law to be too complex and too controversial because no one can agree on what should and should not be in the language.
Regulating how police officers are to go about determining someone’s legal status has become a nightmare because they have to use their judgment and training, and this has become another controversial side of the bill.
Today police officers can only inquire about someone’s legal status if that person has broken a law or committed a crime.
According to Roberts, The AZ POST has created a video that “guides officers on how to determine ‘reasonable suspicion.’”
This doesn’t make any sense to me because the officers will still have full discretion to question anyone they want whether they want to follow the advice of the video or not.
Mann goes on to explain that the video created by the AZ POST is not about racial profiling, but about the different circumstances that the officers face in a particular situation.
I think that it is a good start to have this video because hopefully it is allowing for officers to break away from racial profiling and move onto what is going on in the situation that would cause an officer to check legal statuses in the first place.
In the end SB 1070 is a long and complicated bill that seems to have no concurrence in the end.
I think that heavily regulating police officers in the way they conduct themselves when they check if someone is illegal is a good step in the right direction because it will reduce racial profiling, a major controversy of the law.