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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Clipboard disappears but reports will soon appear online

The Savannah-Chatham County police agreed to post a list of all reports on its Web site each morning. The comprehensive list had been available on a clipboard at the front desk until the department converted to a paperless, electronic system on Dec. 24. The department had discontinued providing a comprehensive list (even though copies of individual reports could still be obtained), which led to a complaint from the Savannah Morning News.
The Savannah Morning News has settled a dispute with Savannah-Chatham County police over public access to police reports after the department agreed to post a daily list of all reports on its Web site.

The agreement resolves a complaint the newspaper made to Attorney General Thurbert Baker last month accusing the police department of violating the Georgia Open Records Act by suspending unfiltered access to daily incident reports.

For years, Savannah police compiled copies of the latest reports, which are public records by law and total about 300 daily, and kept them on a clipboard at the front desk. Combing through the reports for news stories was a daily ritual for police reporters.
More here.

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