Arizona officers know eyes of law’s critics are on them,
PHOENIX — Police enforcing Arizona’s immigration law are allowed to consider if a person speaks poor English, looks nervous or is traveling in an overcrowded vehicle. They can even take into account whether someone is wearing several layers of clothing in a hot climate.
But top police officials issued a stern warning to officers Thursday, telling them in a training video not to consider race or ethnicity and emphasizing that “the entire country is watching.”
Arizona’s law generally requires officers enforcing another law to question a person’s immigration status if there’s a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.
In the training video, an expert advises officers to ask themselves whether they would reach the same conclusion about a Hispanic person’s immigration status if the subject were white or black.
The video and supporting paperwork will be sent to all 170 Arizona police agencies.
Police departments will decide the best way to teach their forces. There is no requirement that all 15,000 Arizona police officers complete the training before the law takes effect July 29.