The Arizona Legislature is advancing a bill that would keep the name of any police officer involved in killing through the use of “deadly force” a member of the public secret for 60 days. It also aims to prohibit police departments from releasing the names of officers involved in those types of deaths.

There would be exceptions—if the officer is charged with a crime or chooses to disclose his or her identity—or if the officer also is killed in that situation and the family members of the deceased officer elect to release the name.

David Bodney, who has represented media organizations in Phoenix, said the new law’s lack of transparency would be counterproductive and the proposed restrictions were not necessary as there already are protections in place for an officer and his or her family before the name of an officer involved in these types of shootings is released.

“What if the officer has a history of use of deadly force, or his or her supervisor has done too little to reduce the risk of a recurring problem? And secrecy encourages speculation and leads to error,” he said. “In the digital age, the identity will probably come out anyway, which would leave the police department looking rather silly.”

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