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Jacksonville Sheriff's Office changes policy on releasing investigative reports

7:04 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is changing its policy citing privacy concerns in the way it handles the release of investigative reports.

In a letter released on Tuesday, the department no longer will make all police reports available to the media for review and the general public, along with the media, will have to make specific requests for a report.

"As more victims become concerned about identity theft, they request their personal information be remove from reports," said Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt.

"We remain committed to transparency. But we also want to solve crimes and make sure we're not re-victimizing people or compromising investigations," said Senterfitt.

Attorney George Gabel, who specializes in First Amendment issues, said this policy change falls more under public records laws with the sheriff's department able to review reports before release.

Gabel is not convinced the change is good public policy.

"I think will reduce information that goes to the public, which I think is a move in the wrong direction," said Gabel.

JSO said its policy change is more in line with large Florida cities. Jacksonville for years had made available police reports for media inspection. Now, requests for a report will have to made to a Public Information Officer so sensitive or private information can be removed.      

First Coast News

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