As discontent swells nationwide over police departments — their budgets, their actions, their administrations — in Virginia a minimum of one factor will enhance: their transparency.
The Basic Meeting this 12 months handed laws opening up some police information to larger public assessment. Gov. Ralph Northam signed the invoice, and it’ll take impact July 1.
Within the ongoing tussle between authorities’s efforts to protect itself from scrutiny and the general public’s rightful calls for to see behind that curtain, this can be a uncommon victory for open entry.
The Virginia Freedom of Info Act permits police information to be launched to the general public, nevertheless it doesn’t mandate launch or set tips for what ought to be revealed and what ought to be stored secret.
And so, police chiefs and sheriffs withhold virtually the whole lot — together with, The Each day Press newspaper reported, information by which an investigation confirmed that no crime was dedicated.
In any case, why launch something when buried in these information is perhaps some element that displays badly in your division?
The reply to that, in fact, is that police and sheriff’s departments work for the general public and it’s to the general public that they’re — or ought to be — accountable. However too usually, they like to guard their very own turf, their very own reputations, their very own jobs on the expense of transparency.