As I’ve posted about before, Assistant Attorney General Mary Burke wrote a good opinion in response to Assistant Police Chief Dean Collins’ question about the Brookfield Police Department’s blanket policy of denying open records requests for police files that have been sent to a prosecuting attorney.
The opinion she wrote is great – it notes:
that state law presumes that people should have as much access as possible to public records and that only in exceptional cases may access be denied.”
law enforcement agencies must weigh the potential harm to investigations and public safety caused by releasing files against the state’s high standard of openness in government.”
Mr. Collins seems to think that:
allowing such a release of information by law enforcement agencies “makes a sham” of state statutes on pre-trial discovery and could give defense lawyers a tactical advantage over a prosecutor who has not yet examined the police reports.”
Somehow he misses the fact that a policy allowing the police department to break the open records law is a sham itself.