As I’ve noted before and again, comparisons of agency compliance with public records requests demonstrate that law enforcement are the most resistant to public records act requests. The first part of a 4-part study by a Kentucky newspaper of that state’s government agency responses to a public records act request underscores this finding.
Fewer than a third of jailers complied with requests for records.
In Montgomery County, Jailer Dewayne Myers and two employees backed auditor Dariush Shafa up and demanded his identification.
“The whole situation was very intimidating,” Shafa, 20, a University of Kentucky student, said in an interview.
Several jailers said the uncommon request for the jail log — and the fact the auditors would not produce identification or say why they wanted to see it — raised concerns about the safety of inmates, authorities and the public.
“We don’t want to take no chance with somebody we don’t know,” Myers said.
Such distrust of the public was a factor in the long debate that led up to the creation of the Open Records Act and its companion, the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.
I recently conducted an investigation in which the successful arm-twisting of a police department to release incident reports lead to a favorable conclusion of an employment related sex harassment case. SDT’s or personal authorizations are not required under California law to secure these records (limited exceptions apply) but you must be able to cite the law and know how to talk to the City Attorney.