The Arizona Police Association (APA), the umbrella agency representing the state’s law enforcement professionals, endorsed Blake Masters in his race for the Senate on Monday, saying he will bring relief to a state struggling with crime.
“On behalf of the Arizona Police Association, I am pleased to announce our endorsement of Blake Masters in Arizona,” said APA President Justin Harris. “Blake will always back our men and women in blue, he will defend our great Constitution, and he believes strongly in enforcing the rule of law.”
The APA only selects candidates who support Arizona law enforcement, correction, detention, and probation officers. Candidates must also fill out a questionnaire from the Association to be considered for an endorsement.
“As Arizona’s next Senator, Blake will work at the federal level to stop drugs from flowing into our communities, call attention to the rise of violent crime in our cities, and prioritize security at our southern border. Blake will always put Arizonans’ safety first,” Harris said, concluding his statement.
In response to the news, Masters thanked the organization for its support, affirming he would support officers and their needs in the Senate.
“Police officers put their lives on the line every day in order to protect us. I will always have their back in the U.S. Senate,” said Masters. “This is particularly important now, as crime is soaring in Arizona thanks to soft-on-crime policies adopted by certain liberal city councils and championed by prominent Democrats like Mark Kelly and Joe Biden. Arizona Police Officers are heroes – I am honored to have their support and will make sure they have all the support they need to do their jobs and keep Arizonans safe.”
— Blake Masters for U.S. Senate Press (@MastersPress) September 26, 2022
On Masters’ website, he outlined plans to “make America safe again.” This plan includes supporting “the police in every possible way,” increasing penalties for federal crimes, especially against children, and cleaning house in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which he called the “arms of the Democrat party.”
Masters’ opponent, incumbent Mark Kelly (D-AZ), has allegedly received no endorsements from any law enforcement organizations, according to Vote Smart.
As reported by The Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Police Department (PHXPD) faces an ongoing staff shortage spurred by negative public perception of the department and a wave of retirements. James Sink, a burglary detective in the property crimes bureau, told The Sun Times that there were once 60 detectives on the job. That number was at 38 when Sink retired in early 2022. As of September, that number has further shrunk to 24 detectives in the bureau.
The department also had to move detectives and detail officers to patrol work to fill shortages in that department. This redistributing has affected detectives’ turnaround time for resolving a case. Sink said that he retired due to being put on patrol, which he said cuts the amount of time he would be able to work on a given case by up to 40 hours a month.
Furthermore, Fox 10 Phoenix reported that homicides have increased in Phoenix since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2020 alone, homicides in the city rose by 40 percent. When ranked amongst cities of a similar size, Phoenix ranked third-highest for homicides in 2021, behind Philadelphia and San Antonio.
Violence against police is also up in the state. In 2022, 16 shootings involving Phoenix police officers have occurred as of August 28, which is already higher than the 13 total shootings in 2021. At least six of those shootings were fatal.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Blake Masters” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Phoenix Police Department” by Phoenix Police Department.