Arizona House Bill 2062 was signed into law — making it a more serious felony to assault a police officer. HB 2062 makes it a Class 5 felony to assault a peace officer, and makes it a Class 4 felony to commit aggravated assault that results in injury to a peace officer.
Many officers feel that the tragic death of Lt. Shuhandler could have been prevented if Christopher Redondo of Globe, Arizona would have been behind bars after assaulting a Department of Public Safety (DPS) police officer. The Lt. Eric Shuhandler Act, H.B. 2062, was signed into law by Governor Janice Brewer, that changes aggravated assault on a peace officer felony classification from a class six felony to a class five felony for aggravated assault of an officer and changes from a class five felony to a class four felony aggravated assault that results in physical injury to the officer.
“When an officer is assaulted for detaining a suspect, they are a victim,” says Jimmy Chavez, President of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association. “In most instances when someone fights back against an officer, many officers receive injures and it at times takes them off the streets to continue fighting crime.”
According to the FBI statistics, law enforcement agencies reported that 58,792 officers were assaulted in the line of duty in 2008, and from 2000-2008 assaults on officers have risen 115% nationwide. The rate of these offenses was 11.3 officer assaults per 100 sworn officers. Arizona had 2,118 on assaults on officers, ranging from physical assault to use of a weapon.
The county attorney’s office ultimately issues jail time to any felon that is convicted of aggravated assault against an officer, but the typical jail times for a class six felonies can be about two years and class five can be about five to seven years.
“AHPA thanks Representative Andy Tobin for sponsoring the bill and bringing to light one harsh reality to our profession,” adds Chavez.
Article written by/or information provided by AHPA