Access to police-camera footage must improve, open-government advocates say

Government emails, metadata also top list of FOI-tech issues that leave us in the dark FOR RELEASE: March 14, 2022 Contact: Todd Fettig, NFOIC executive director  Phone: 352-294-7082   Email: nfoic@nfoic.org March 14, 2022 — The public too often is being denied access to police body- and dash-cam footage. This ranks as the most critical…

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After police shot and killed her son, mother uses open records laws to find answers, spark change

From “A mother’s quest for openness provides map for spurring change,” published March 1, 2022 in The Journal: A Civic Issues Magazine. “When Sheila Albers, of Kansas, couldn’t get answers to the questions she had after her 17-year-old son was shot and killed by an Overland Park police officer while the teen was in the…

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Audit of Maine police agencies produces inconsistent results; 1 in 5 didn’t respond

When law enforcement agencies across Maine were asked to turn over records of complaints and discipline, some departments provided a bundle of records, some provided basic information — and one in five did not respond at all. That’s according to an audit conducted by the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, a member of the National…

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Many police personnel records remain secret, despite public pressure for transparency

Despite public pressure to make police misconduct and complaint records available to the public, many personnel records remain secret. In some jurisdictions, because of state laws or by contract, officers can conceal their personnel files, including records of wrongdoing. “Secrecy of police discipline has been a huge problem,” Sam Walker, an emeritus professor at the…

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Advocates for accountability applaud Maryland law that opens police disciplinary records

A new law in Maryland opens to the public more police disciplinary records.  According to a Nov. 24, 2021, report in The Washington Post, the new law has left police departments scrambling to respond to new records requests.  Advocates for open records and police accountability applaud the law.  “The inability to obtain records in police…

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Law enforcement would benefit everyone by democratizing its data, column argues

Democratizing law enforcement data could benefit everyone — the police and the public they serve — argue Nancy La Vigne and Roy L. Austin Jr. of the Council on Criminal Justice Task Force on Policing in an Aug. 26, 2021, guest column for The Washington Post. “We cannot fix a problem we do not fully understand,” they…

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Connecticut requires police body cameras, but bill doesn’t appoint overseer

Connecticut police departments must equip all officers with body cameras by July 2022. But the bill requiring body cameras didn’t designate a state agency to oversee implementation. “There is no enforcement mechanism regarding compliance,” said Marc Pelka, the undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning at the state’s Office of Policy and Management. According to…

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Exemptions to records laws allow authorities to stifle talk of police reform, paper says

Exemptions to state public records laws allow police departments to conceal vast amounts of information and stifle meaningful discussion about police reform and accountability. According to a Washington Post analysis: All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow police departments to withhold records they consider investigatory. And in 35 states, police misconduct records are…

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NFOIC joins amicus brief supporting release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 23 other organizations joined a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief supporting the release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey. In July 2019, a retired New Jersey police officer submitted a New Jersey Open Public Records Act request seeking access to police internal…

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Having police body-worn cameras is one thing; releasing footage another, Wisconsin station says

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police began using body-worn cameras in 2015, but the public’s access to footage is limited in the state, according to WTMJ-TV. “We’re at the second phase of the battle,” said Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents the family of Joel Acevedo, who died after an off-duty police officer allegedly held him in a chokehold….

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