Monday, May 20, 2013

Freedom Of Info? Not With City PD

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - Sat.  5/18/13

As it turned out no one representing Plattsburgh City attended the meeting.  Some questions were left unanswered.

Three representative from Plattsburgh State University did attend, including Chief Arelene M. Sabo from the PSU police department.  The evening meeting at ROTA was an opportunity to discuss community-college issues.

ROTA Vice President Mall Hall told Chief Sabo that he appreciated the openness with her department's police blotter.  During the school year the student newspaper, Cardinal Points, runs extensive listings of incidents related to PSU students taken from her department's blotter.

In the meantime, Matt noted, the Plattsburgh (City) Police Department restricts access to its own blotter.  When two of his friends were victims of a beating, he wanted more info about the case but was given "the runaround."

He said that not just citizens but even the Press-Republican newspaper has to deal with the restricted access.  The PR calls the city police and asks for any information it feels like sharing.

Matt raised an important point.  Records like police blotters are supposed to be open to the public and media.  Why does it take a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request to get info when other communities don't have as many restrictions?

Taxpayers are entitled to more transparency.  If the PSU police blotter is open to Cardinal Points and others, why not the same policy with the city police blotter?

If this is supposed to be a democracy, why do we have secretive police?

No comments: