Remarks of Len Munsil on Crime, July 21, 2006
Thank you for coming this morning. I am here with my friend Bill Montgomery, Republican candidate for Attorney General, to do two things. First, draw attention to the fact that Arizona has the worst crime problem in the United States. Second, to make it clear that fighting crime would be a top priority in a Munsil-Montgomery administration.
Even though she is 6 years older than me, I was involved with the law enforcement community long before Janet Napolitano left her job as a trial lawyer to be appointed by Bill Clinton as US Attorney in Arizona. That was her first experience with law enforcement. By the time she was appointed US Attorney in 1994, I had traveled the country teaching thousands of prosecutors and law enforcement officials how to effectively prosecute child pornography and obscenity crimes that led to the abuse of women and children, and was co-author of a book used by prosecutors nationwide. I had been appointed by Gov. Symington to the Arizona Juvenile Justice Advisory Council. I had worked with Chief Asst. Attorney General Steve Twist on Arizona’s Victims’ Bill of Rights. I had been appointed a special deputy county attorney by Rick Romley, and been involved in anti-drug coalitions in our community – all of this before Janet Napolitano assumed an appointed position and made her first venture into the law enforcement community.
For a Governor who claims a background in prosecution, Janet Napolitano has been deafeningly silent on the issue of crime. Tragically, it has taken the presence of serial murderers and rapists in our community to draw public attention to our state’s serious problem with crime.
The fundamental role of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. By that report card, our Governor and Attorney General have failed miserably.
We have the highest crime rate in the nation, and have been in that place the entire time Terry Goddard and Janet Napolitano have been in their current positions.
- We have the 7th highest domestic violence homicide rate and we are 6th in murder overall. We have the highest rate of property crimes, identity theft and larceny in the nation. We are second in vehicle theft.
- These statistics are not just statistics to the members of our community who deserve to live and work in freedom and safety. These statistics affect the quality of life for all of us. And they represent life-changing tragedies for the victims of crime. These statistics are the consequence of a failure to provide any leadership or establish priorities for law enforcement, and it is a consequence of failing to secure our borders, and failing to address the effects and impact of illegal immigration on Arizona.
As Governor, fighting crime and protecting victims will be a top priority for me. Arizona cannot maintain a welcome environment for people and businesses without addressing this vital issue. And it begins with this:
- We must secure our border to eradicate human and drug smuggling and the crime that goes with it. As Governor, I would work with Bill Montgomery and law enforcement officials to create a multi-jurisdictional Arizona Border Task Force to prioritize the prosecution of crimes resulting from our problems with illegal immigration. I have great respect for the work of local law enforcement officials, but we need to make sure that we have a statewide strategy for law enforcement and that local law enforcement has the resources it needs to address this issue.
- I would sign into law a Criminal Trespass Bill to address ongoing illegal border crossings.
- Because the federal government is not effectively enforcing employer sanctions, I would sign into law a bill that holds employers accountable for knowingly hiring those who are here unlawfully.
- I would strengthen the state’s criminal code further in areas of violent crime and repeat offender sentencing. We need longer sentences and mandatory consecutive sentences.
- Strengthen our resolve through the courts to aggressively assert the rights of crime victims.
- We must increase pay and benefits to law enforcement officials to fill some of the many unfilled positions statewide. These vacancies are threatening the safety of our citizens, especially in rural communities.
Let me mention some additional steps I would take to help insure the safety and security of Arizona’s citizens:
- First, we need to effectively reform CPS so that child safety is not just the goal but the outcome. I will have more details on my plans for CPS in the days to come.
- We must root out public corruption, which diminishes the people’s confidence in their government. On this Governor’s watch, we have had scandals and corruption in the Motor Vehicle Division with the sale of fake IDs, in the National Guard with dozens of troops dishonoring our state by accepting bribes from FBI agents posing as drug smugglers, and there are ongoing issues with ADOT and its contracts and with the Department of Corrections.
- The people of our state need to have confidence that they can trust their government, and rooting out public corruption would be a high priority for my administration.