Thursday, February 12, 2009

Senate passes bill to keeep 911 tapes secret

A bill to keep 911 emergency calls from being broadcast on radio or television, or posted on Web sites, passed the state Senate this afternoon, 27-9. It is expected to face a tougher time in the House.

One of those voting against Senate Bill 30 was Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington. She said that as a prosecutor of domestic-violence cases, she had found 911 tapes very useful because "victims of domestic violence are very reluctant to come to court and name the person who perpetrated that." She said the recordings show "the terror in her voice." Speaking of current prosecutors, she said, "I'm very fearful it might make them hesitant to use those tapes" because "other persons would be able to record those surreptitiously."

In Kentucky, 911 calls are currently public records, available to reporters and ordinary citizens alike. The bill passed with both floor amendments, mentioned in previous blog posts.

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