In an effort to reinforce that "Blue Lives Matter," the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey have created tougher penalties for assaulting a police officer — even if the officer is off duty.
Ducey signed Senate Bill 1366 into law Monday afternoon. It will take effect later this summer, reports azcentral.com.
"Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to defend our communities and keep our streets safe," Ducey said in a released statement. "Their job is dangerous enough already, and we have zero tolerance for anyone who would target officers simply for doing their jobs. This legislation sends the clear message that Arizona stands firmly by its men and women in uniform, and I am proud to sign it."
The measure, dubbed the "Blue Lives Matter Law," makes it an aggravating circumstance for someone to knowingly assault an off-duty law-enforcement officer out of malice because of the officer's employment. It also creates a new felony charge for attempting to take an off-duty officer's gun, handcuffs, or other weapon.
It's already a higher-level crime to assault an on-duty police officer.
Defendants charged in incidents involving the assaults of off-duty officers will now be treated with the same aggravating statutes if they were to specifically target a uniformed, active officer.