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Friday, May 01, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Legislators must clarify records law re private university police reports

Updating earlier posts (4/20 and 4/26) on ESPN's lawsuit over access to the reports of the Notre Dame police, the South Bend Tribune ran a long editorial on April 30th headed "Our Opinion: Legislators must clarify records law." Some quotes:

The Indiana General Assembly should make amending the state’s public records law a priority as it applies to private university police departments when it convenes next year.

The right to inspect reports of a private university’s police department — reports that otherwise would be released by police at public universities — became an issue this year when ESPN and one of its reporters filed a lawsuit in St. Joseph Superior Court after Notre Dame declined to provide campus police records related to student athletes.

The Tribune also has sought information from campus police reports, but has been turned away on several occasions in the past. Most recently The Tribune sought information from a Sept. 6, 2014, incident in which a man was critically injured while falling down a stairwell at the university’s Main Building.

Regarding the ESPN lawsuit, St. Joseph Superior Judge Steven Hostetler ruled Notre Dame does not need to make its police records public, but noted in his ruling that “Perhaps this case will cause the Indiana Legislature to consider this important matter.” * * *

We think now is the perfect opportunity for the General Assembly to take this confusing issue out of the hands of the court and write a law that once and for all decides the status of private university police departments when it comes to disclosing certain police reports.

By revisiting the APRA, the General Assembly will create a better public records law that applies equally to every university police department in the state, both private and public. There should be no confusion as to what the public has the right to know.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 1, 2015 11:03 AM
Posted to Indiana Government