The Nevada County, California District Attorney has ordered the county to keep all police reports out of court case files available to the public. Police reports generally are found in criminal court case files although an agency is not required to release records it has that are generated by another government entity.
However, it appears that the Nevada County District Attorney was prompted to make this change, not by dedication to the law, but to protect one of their own.
The action comes after details of a drug arrest from a police report were published in The Union last week. Former Nevada County Animal Control Officer Arlene Winstead asked a narcotics officer to conceal evidence during her arrest, according to a sheriff’s incident report.
But police agencies often are not cooperative in releasing information that is covered by the Public Records Act. As the Californians Aware, Audit Report 2007: Public Access to Law Enforcement Information revealed, most police agencies don’t comply with public records law requests for information.