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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Tough Look at the Utah Police Files Exemption

Amen, Amen:

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank and police union President Tom Gallegos are tight.

Which explains how Gallegos can still be on the job after harassing two female co-workers - "I probably should not be alone in a room with you when you're on your knees," he told one - and sending porn from his city computer (a felony). Instead of firing Gallegos, Burbank has filled his personnel file with letters of reprimand.

Gallegos probably would rather not have the dirty details of his on-the-job sexual harassment training revealed. But even Chief Burbank couldn't help him.

West Jordan Republican Sen. Chris Buttars can. He's sponsoring legislation that would allow cops like Gallegos - with the complicity of police chiefs like Burbank - to keep their disciplinary records secret. Under the bill, which is backed by the Utah Chiefs of Police Association, officers would have to consent to release information about their bad acts.

Buttars' bill is part of lawmakers' annual chipping away at Utah's public records law. Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, is sponsoring legislation that would allow government agencies to classify the minutes of meetings as "protected drafts." Orem Republican Sen. Margaret Dayton has carved out a special exemption allowing lawmakers to get "private, controlled or protected" information.

More here.

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