Friday, October 23, 2009

San Jose rejects plan to open police records

The Mercury News reports that a proposal to make public most San Jose police arrest records has been rejected by City Council, which said it would put crime victims in jeopardy and hinder crime fighting.

Mayor Chuck Reed, who had previously been on the side of making more records accessible to the public, said he was worried that no other city had opened up its police records to the extent that San Jose would under the proposal from the Sunshine Reform Task Force.

"We're being asked to sail into uncharted waters," Reed said, according to the Merc. "We're being asked to do something no other city in the state is being asked to doIt's wise to take some advice from people who have sailing experience, and they are saying, 'Don't do this. It's a bad idea.'"

But Merc managing editor Bert Robinson, who is a member of the 15-person task force, said other cities allow people to access these records.

"I'm disappointed that the council turned back a reasonable proposal that could have made San Jose a leader in police accountability," Robinson said. "I believe the community members who spoke (Tuesday night) demonstrated why this proposal is needed, and I'm grateful that five council members heard their message."

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