By Jonathan J. Cooper
PHOENIX — Arizona officials plan to release a training program Thursday designed to teach police officers to enforce a tough new crackdown on illegal immigration without racially profiling.
An hour-long video and supporting paperwork will be sent to all 170 Arizona police agencies and publicly released Thursday morning.
Officials released an outline for the video in May.
It will emphasize the importance of professionalism, ethics and integrity, as well as an officer's duty to protect civil rights, according to the outline.
Retired immigration agents also will describe how federal officers are trained to avoid racial profiling and the documents that immigrants are required to carry.
And officers will be taught how to contact federal immigration authorities or local officers certified by the federal government to determine someone's immigration status.
Gov. Jan Brewer ordered the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to develop the training when she signed the law April 23.
Police bosses will decide the best way to teach their forces. But there is no requirement that all 15,000 Arizona police officers complete the training before the law takes effect July 29.
Opponents have challenged the measure as unconstitutional and have asked that a federal court block it from taking effect. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton plans to hear arguments on the request later this month.
Arizona's law generally requires police 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.
It restricts the use of race, color or national origin as the basis for triggering immigration questions. But civil rights groups and some police officials argue that officers will still assume that illegal immigrants look Hispanic.
Arizona's law was passed in part with the lobbying muscle of unions representing rank-and-file police officers who argued that they should be allowed to arrest illegal immigrants they come across.
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It was opposed by police bosses who worried it would be expensive to implement and would destroy the trust they've developed in Hispanic neighborhoods.