JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office made a major policy change that will slow and potentially stop the release of valuable information to protect your family.
The Sheriff's Office closed, without notice, the office with access to police reports.
The room, commonly called the police blotter, was largely used by media, including Action News, to get information on crimes in your neighborhood.
Information in certain reports, like sex crimes, was always redacted before the media was given access.
Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt, not Sheriff John Rutherford, released a statement late today.
Senterfitt claimed, among other things, the move was to help protect identity theft.
We at Action News are not aware of anyone in the media stealing anyone's identity. We will keep checking on that for you.
The Sheriff's Office says it will make reports available after officers have had time to review them.
Frankly, we are shocked to learn the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was releasing reports without reviewing them.
In the end, JSO, which investigates crimes by its officers itself, locked the public out of its police radio traffic and now slows the release of police reports, said it remains, "committed to Transparency."
Action News sent a letter to JSO citing Section 119.07(1) of Florida state law that states:
(a)Every person who has custody of a public record shall permit the record to be inspected and copied by any person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under supervision by the custodian of the public records.
(c)A custodian or public records and his or her designee must acknowledge requests to inspect or copy records promptly and respond to such requests in good faith. A good faith response includes making reasonable efforts to determine from other officers or employees within the agency whether such a record exists and, if so, the location at which the record can be accessed.
(d)A person who has custody of a public record who asserts that an exemption applies to a part of such record shall redact that portion of the record to which an exemption has been asserted and validly applies, and such person shall produce the remainder of such record for inspection and copying.
(e)If the person who has custody of a public record contends that all or part of the record is exempt from inspection and copying, he or she shall state the basis of the exemption that he or she contends is applicable to the record, including the statutory citation of an exemption created or afforded by statute.
(f)If requested by the person seeking to inspect or copy the record, the custodian of public record shall state in writing and with particularity the reasons for the conclusion that the record is exempt or confidential.
We have their news release attached to this story so you can read it for yourself.