Now more than ever, first responders play an incredibly important role in keeping our communities safe. Though the woke mob wants to defund the police, it is vital that we protect all first responders who continue to work tirelessly to meet the often-dangerous demands of our cities. One way to ensure that first responders feel comfortable carrying out their duties is to enforce the laws that guarantee justice for those who are assaulted while on duty. It is unacceptable for felonious assault charges on first responders to be frivolously dropped by local prosecutors. Sadly, this is often the case.
The number of attacks on police officers in Arizona has increased significantly in the past five years, by over 30%. Between 2017 and 2021, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic, there were about 1,000 assaults on Phoenix police officers with about 250 injuries each year. An average of about 2,440 officers across Arizona were assaulted with about two killed each year during the same time span. Even worse, the assailants might get away unscathed, leaving first responders to merely accept the violent reality. First responders are frustrated with the legal response to the violent attacks against them. Violence on first responders should not be merely “part of the job.”
In 2019, specifically, county prosecutors did not follow the recommendation of the Phoenix Police Department to charge a man who was among 16 people arrested during an immigration protest in downtown Phoenix, which resulted in the assault of multiple police officers. When officers are merely carrying out their duties in high stress situations, it is intolerable for criminals to harm them and walk away without punishment. Though violence sadly often accompanies the job of a police officer, violence without consequences certainly should not.
This is becoming all too common in our country. Just recently, two San Francisco police officers were attacked and stabbed. Yet, in January of this year, the District Attorney decided to drop the charges against the suspect. Not only do decisions like these keep violent criminals on the streets, but they also send the message that there are no repercussions for attacks on police. There needs to be a system in place to guarantee that the appropriate charges are brought against dangerous criminals who threaten our first responders, and the safety of our communities. .
As your Attorney General, I will mandate that any felonious assault charge on a first responder that is turned down for prosecution by county attorneys will be required to receive a 90-day review by my office. I will also work with leadership from the state legislature to ensure that this requirement is placed in state statute so that any future generations of first responders will be guaranteed this same protection from future Arizona Attorney Generals as well. I am the only candidate who has been endorsed by public safety organizations; our police are supporting my candidacy because they know I will have their backs. We must protect our police officers and all first responders from violent attacks on their safety by ensuring that when they are assaulted by lawbreakers, the laws are enforced to protect those who serve.
Rodney Glassman is currently a Major in the United States Air Force JAG Corps Reserve and practicing attorney at Beus Gilbert McGroder PLLC. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Justin Harris is the President of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association (GLEA) and concurs with the policy of a mandatory review by the Attorney General’s office for all felonious assault charges on a first responder that are turned down for prosecution by local county attorneys. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.