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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

In Wisconsin, the Bins Runneth Dry...

Madison, Wisconsin police are promising to look into why almost all daily police reports have stopped showing up in a bin at police headquarters that news reporters have used for years to keep residents informed about crime in their city.

"This the first I've heard that it's dried up," Capt. Carl Gloede, the department's chief records custodian, said in a recent interview. "I'll have to see who's doing the sorting now and pick their brain about what they're doing."

The dearth of information comes at a time when public interest in crime is intense. Hundreds of residents attended a series of meetings with police this fall to complain about crime and disorder in their neighborhoods...

The change started in late August, when fewer and fewer reports of assaults, thefts, burglaries and other incidents began showing up. The trend increased throughout the fall, with only a few reports of stolen bicycles or stacks of parking tickets put out.

Since at least October, regular checks have shown nothing in the bin other than an arrest log, which contains the minimal information police are required to provide under the law whenever a person is picked up, including the person's name, case number and tentative charge.

But the log does not describe the circumstances of an arrest, nor does it include any incident that did not involve an arrest.

More here.

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