National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Editorial: Police department accountability shouldn’t require a lawsuit

A police force that picks and chooses the laws it will honor probably doesn’t deserve to call itself a law enforcement agency. The St. Louis Police Department behaves as if Missouri’s Sunshine Law doesn’t apply uniformly to departmental records and the fees it charges to access them.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last month in St. Louis Circuit Court claiming that an ACLU staffer was quoted substantially higher fees than allowed by law after he requested 138 arrest reports. The total fee quoted by the police department came to $1,377, which included $897 for the reports and $480 for estimated staff research time to read and redact information. Continue…