Claremore Daily Progress

Verdigris

August 17, 2012

Public does not need to know

E911 Advisory Board discusses withholding information despite Oklahoma Open Records Act

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

“Please keep in mind, I have talked to internal legal counsel [David Iski] and there is nothing in black in white under statute that we could really find other than what applies to law enforcement,” Hamilton said.
An example of the public requesting recorded 911 calls is when a domestic call takes place then a neighbor has requested the record of the event. 
The purpose of not wanting to release it is to protect the 911 caller, Hamilton said.
“We should take a stand to protect the identity of the 911 caller,” she said. “Naturally we could release this to law enforcement or who the powers that be decide, but the general public, I don’t think so.”
Commissioner Dan DeLozier asked Iski if there are laws that govern the issue.
Iski explained that the issue is already currently out there.
“The Open Records Act, again I am addressing my clients whom are the board of county commissioners, the open records acts does not specifically have a category for what this is 911, it has a category for law enforcement which is closest that I can think of,” Iski said.
Iski explained that he was advising the commissioners, yet Hamilton stated earlier that he had advised her on this issue prior to the meeting.
During the conversation, a number of board members raised concerns about the issue. 
The board then voted unanimously to approve the item to follow industry standards that includes redacting caller information if it is to be released to the public.  The item will also include getting a signed release from involved persons including the dispatch officers.
“The entire recording will not be released to the public unless a signed release has been received,” Hamilton said.
Throughout the discussions, no statute was presented to clarify the board’s authority for this decision. Iski could not provide any statutory reference to withholding the information from the public.  Since the advisory board has no authority to put this policy in place and the issue will have to be brought before the county commissioners regarding the issue. All three commissioners were present and voted to support the agenda item during the advisory board meeting. 

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