Spotlight on cops
Californians Aware don’t just pick on sneaky city council members. They like hassling cops, too. Francke’s group recently released its report card on how well local police departments follow public record laws.
During the project, journalists around the state requested information from their local law-enforcement agencies about specific crimes committed in their communities. Each police department was graded on how much information they supplied, how long it took and how helpful they were in the process.
The results for Sacramento-area cops? Solidly mediocre.
Most local police organizations routinely denied information that, by law, they are supposed to make available to the public. This information includes the time of the incident, the location, the name of the victim, and some basic circumstances about the crime.
And too often, the researchers seeking crime information were greeted with suspicion, and asked why they needed to know. That’s a big no-no under the state’s public information laws.
At the end of the day, Sacramento Police Department got a “C-,” the Sacramento Sheriff got a “C.” Roseville PD got a “D” and the Woodland PD got a woeful “D-.”
The only local law enforcement agency to get an “A” was the Davis Police Department, which gave up the info without much hassle and even prominently displayed its public records policy in its lobby. Readers (and police personnel) who want more information should check out www.calaware.org.