Dispute over Shawnee County open records highlights gray area in Kansas law

Shawnee County attorneys redacted portions of a document that overviews possible problems and solutions at the county’s Emergency Communication Center — an entity that has been plagued in recent years with understaffing and steep criticism from city of Topeka officials.

The redactions were necessary to protect the identity of an undercover police officer and the integrity of the radio system, county counselor Jim Crowl said Tuesday. But open records experts have said the documents should remain open because they were introduced and discussed during a public meeting last week.

The disagreement highlights a growing gray area in Kansas public record law: when and how law enforcement documents discussed in an open meeting should be made available to the public.