Maricopa County Sheriff and Police and Fire Chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson sign the UNITY Pledge in support of equality for all Arizonans

Maricopa County Sheriff and Police and Fire Chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson sign the UNITY Pledge in support of equality for all Arizonans

 (Arizona) - The police and fire chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson and the Maricopa County Sheriff have all signed the UNITY Pledge, a public declaration of support for equal treatment in employment, housing and businesses open to the public for all Arizonans, including gay and transgender people.  Phoenix Police Chief Jerri Williams, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, Tempe Fire Chief Greg Ruiz, Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus and Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone join over 2,600 businesses and organizations including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Professional Firefighters of Arizona, PetSmart, Intel, Go Daddy, PayPal, Fry’s Food Stores and others in support of a fully inclusive Arizona. 

“Fair and impartial policing is an easily understandable philosophy.  Everyone is equal under the law.  As proud as I am about signing this initiative, I look forward to the day when initiatives such as these are no longer necessary because we recognize the value in total equality,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir added, “We have a duty to protect all citizens equally on the same terms.  Who you are or who you love doesn’t matter – nor should it matter to us.  The only thing that matters is ensuring the safety of each and every citizen of Tempe.”

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"The Phoenix Police Department is committed to protecting the rights and safety of ALL people living within and visiting our community," said City of Phoenix Policy Chief Jeri Williams.

“The Phoenix Fire Department considers it an honor and privilege to support the UNITY Pledge. Every member of our diverse population deserves respect, fair, and equal treatment.  The community can count on our Phoenix Firefighters to honor this critical pledge,” continued Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner.

"As police officers, our duty is to serve and protect. Signing the UNITY Pledge is symbolic of our commitment to ensuring a safe community for all citizens on the same terms," said Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus.   

“We have taken an oath to protect all citizens, not just some citizens,” concluded Greg Ruiz, Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Chief.

Currently, only five municipalities have ordinances that ban gay and transgender discrimination along with the characteristics protected under state law such as age, gender, religion, ethnicity and disability.  However, Arizona has no statewide laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from being fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, or discriminated against in housing and businesses open to the public. 

Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson are currently the only Arizona municipalities who earn a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, which examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on equality.

According to the Movement Advancement Projects (MAP), over 200 cities and counties, and 19 states, have adopted fully inclusive non-discrimination protections, and there has been no increase in public safety incidents in those places. Additionally, the Police Foundation, an independent and non-partisan police research organization, also found no increase of incidences when municipalities had LGBTQ inclusive policies. [1]

“It is with great pride that we announce the signing of the UNITY Pledge by the police and fire chiefs of Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and the Maricopa County Sheriff,” said Angela Hughey, President and Co-Founder of ONE Community and ONE Community Foundation.  “They understand that there is no room for discrimination when it comes to public safety and that inclusive policies strengthen, not threaten, public safety,” concluded Hughey.

Created by ONE Community, a member-based coalition of LGBTQ and allied individuals and businesses, the UNITY Pledge is a public declaration to support and advance workplace equality and non-discrimination policies in housing and businesses open to the public for all people, including gay and transgender people.

[1] https://www.policefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/PF_Research-Brief_JULY-2017-FINAL.pdf