Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rockcastle County 911 Board failed to prove harm in releasing tape and dispatch log

The Rockcastle County 911 Board violated the state Open Records Act by failing to prove that a tape and dispatch log were exempt from disclosure, the attorney general's office has ruled.

In originally denying the request, the board indicated that the records were “unavailable because of an ongoing investigation.” While this is a valid reason for exempting a public record under KRS 61.878(1)(h), the board did not cite the statute in its denial (violation of the procedural requirements) and also failed to prove that release of the record would harm the Mount Vernon Police Department (violation of the substantive requirements).

After privately reviewing the tape and dispatch log, the attorney general’s office confirmed that the records were of radio communications concerning a traffic stop. However, because the records only contained general information and not primary evidence, the office decided that disclosure would not weaken the board’s case, hinder its investigation, or taint the jury pool. It said the board did not overcome the presumption in the act that records are public.

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