Police records no longer open in many communities

From Patch.com: A legal battle in Illinois over a $20 parking ticket could potentially cost a Chicago suburb tens of millions of dollars — and fear that the case could have implications here is prompting many Milwaukee-area police departments to drastically clamp down on how much information they’re releasing to the public.

In a matter of months, police departments from Caledonia to Port Washington have stopped providing names of people their officers are arresting, ticketing or contacting, and, in some cases, won’t even release details on where a crime occurred because of the pending litigation in Illinois.

We could see a closing off of Wisconsin’s open records laws — laws that are considered among the strongest in the country.

“There’s the real possibility that we are getting to the point in Wisconsin, because of this overzealous interpretation, where people may be subject to secret arrests,” said Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. “That’s absolutely intolerable. That should shock and appall every resident of the state.”

Visit Patch.com for more.

The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is a member of NFOIC. –eds