SLED chief: Keep agents’ access to death records

South Carolina's top cop asked legislators Tuesday to ensure that agents who investigate child deaths continue to have access to records like autopsy reports and birth certificates, saying he hopes a recent court ruling won't change that.

"There is no higher mission than the protection of our children," State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel told a special Senate panel Tuesday. "This is paramount to the department's ability to continue to fulfill its purpose and duties."

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Editorial: Ferguson City Council needs transparency first, changes second

In confusing public relations with public governance, the Ferguson City Council took one step forward and two steps back this week. On Monday, in advance of a Tuesday night City Council meeting, the public relations firm hired by the city announced that the City Council was “implementing several changes and new programs in response to community concerns.”

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Virginia State Police refuses to disclose publicly funded weapons and vehicles

The Virginia Department of State Police has refused to disclose the types of patrol rifles and other tactical weapons and vehicles it possesses in a decision criticized by civil liberty groups and open-government advocates. The Rutherford Institute in Albemarle County, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Virginia Coalition of Open Government questioned why state police would not release basic descriptions of their taxpayer-funded firearms stock and equipment.

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SLED (S.C.) keeps video of York inmate death secret

The South Carolina state Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has denied a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from NBC Charlotte for jailhouse video of the second inmate to die in the same restraint chair in the same York County Detention Center.

The WCNC-TV Investigative Team filed the FOI request seeking video depicting the last hours of the life of Joshua Grose, arrested for the murder of his mother and a neighbor woman in October.

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Blog: Newly released FOIA documents show “enormous spying and monitoring apparatus”

Last week, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) released a trove of some 4,000 documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the movements of the mostly peaceful participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests were subjected to an "enormous spying and monitoring apparatus" that included coordination between the Pentagon, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local police, private security contractors and corporate interests.

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Local Canadian Police agency defends FOI exemption

Putting Saskatchewan's municipal police under freedom of information and privacy legislation would be a pricey proposition for the Regina Police Service, according to its chief.

It would require hiring at least another staff member, and the money is something Chief Troy Hagen says could be better spent elsewhere.

"It wouldn't surprise me if this position certainly would be probably pushing six figures," said Hagen.

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EDITORIAL: Making police logs public a start

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has pledged to make state government more open to the public and last year his Open Government Task Force submitted eight bills in the 2013 legislative session. The Legislature rejected five of the proposed laws.

One of the proposed laws was one that would make police logs and criminal booking photos public. Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-S.D., has introduced a revised bill this year that would change state law to require law enforcement agencies to release police logs to the public.

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