Virginia House panel kills police secrecy bill

A Virginia bill that would have allowed the government to shield the names of police officers from the public was killed by a legislative committee Thursday after a fierce debate that pitted open records advocates against law enforcement groups.

The measure was introduced in response to a court ruling last year that directed the state to turn over the names and employment dates of thousands of law enforcement officials to The Virginian-Pilot, which is trying to determine whether officers who get fired are landing jobs at another agency.

Supporters of the bill said the release and publication of names could put officers in danger at a time of heightened tension between law enforcement and the public. But opponents said the measure went too far and would prevent the public from shining a light on inappropriate behavior. Continue…