~ california police personnel records remain exempt from California Public Records Act ~

The Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in a recently published opinion, CAL Comm’n v. Super. Ct. of Sacramento County (04/07/05 – No. C045494), affirms that the California Commission On Peace Officer Standards And Training (POST) officer personnel records are exempt from disclosure under Gov. Code section 6254(k). The Los Angeles Times filed a petition for writ of mandate, seeking to compel POST to release the data.

In it’s conclusion the Court provides for limited release of information.

In my view, the names of the peace officers should be exempted from disclosure under section 6254(c), but the remaining information requested by The Times is not so exempt and should be released. Disclosure of the data ordered by the trial court with redaction of peace officers’ names to shield their identities fairly balances the competing legislative concerns of preserving individual privacy while promoting openness in government.

Thus, I would uphold the trial court’s order that POST disclose the employing department names, appointment type (new), date of appointment, and date of termination, if any. I would issue a peremptory writ directing the trial court to modify its disclosure order to excise the names of individual officers and to require that a random identifier be assigned to each individual officer’s record to assist in tracking employment trends or the movement of officers in, out of, or between different departments.

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