We asked for public records. Lexington sheriff says it will cost hundreds

If the public is to see the personnel records of two Lexington County sheriff’s deputies involved in a controversial death investigation, Sheriff Jay Koon says access to those public documents will come with a hefty fee.

The sheriff’s department has told The State it must pay $350 for the two personnel files it seeks as research on a case involving the death of a child. The department defends the charge, saying it is merely passing along the cost of gathering the records, reviewing them, and redacting information that state law says can be withheld.

South Carolina law allows public agencies to charge for access to public records, but they can also elect to waive fees if they believe the information is in the public’s interest. Some times, however, agencies seek large fees to make it more difficult for anyone to access information it does not want the public to see, according to Bill Rogers, head of the S.C. Press Association. (Read more here…)