Opinion

Police tweaks its public release of crime reports | Our Opinion | April 1

The Bainbridge Island Police Department’s decision to change its procedure regarding release of crime reports to news sources generally won’t change the amount of information presented weekly in our “blotter” column.

Previously, the “press log” gave a thorough blow-by-blow recounting of an arrest, while redacting nearly all personal information such as the arrested person’s name, address and some details that could lead to the identification of a victim.

When complaints were made regarding the procedure,  Cmdr. Sue Shultz said the department decided to make a change after taking a look at how other Kitsap County departments release crime reports. Now, names and addresses will be on the reports, with the redaction of only a person’s date of birth, social security information, telephone number and specific addresses.

The other change is that reports will include only a “summary” of what happened. That could be problematic, but Shultz said a more detailed narrative of an incident will be made available if a reporter requests it from either herself or a lieutenant.

Or, as is now the case, a formal public records request can be made for the full report. She said that because the redactions took a considerable amount of time to complete, the new releases will actually be made available sooner.

We’ll see how this works out, since most news sources prefer full reports being made available without a request. Still, the Review’s blotter will continue to withhold names and other pertinent details regarding citations and misdemeanors, and generally for felonies unless a suspect has been formally charged.

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Clarification

It was implied in last week’s story about the city’s desire to sell surplus lots at Islanders Mobile Park, that all of the park’s lots are on the market. The city may eventually sell the seven shares it owns, but only after the current residents have moved on.

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