By David Cuillier | May 5th, 2010
The Corvallis staff, along with reporters from the neighboring paper, the Albany Democrat-Herald, asked about access to police records, which seems to be a consistent theme on this tour so far. I’m amazed at the changes we’ve seen in 20 years. It used to be you could walk into a police department and flip through the incident reports left in a basket or on a clipboard. If you have a question you would ask an officer on duty or even call the officer who handled the report. Now, few agencies provide incident reports for people to look through, queries often have to go through a PIO, and agencies are encrypting their radios so people can’t even hear what’s happening. Talk about secret police!
Tip No. 6: Folks, it’s time to push back. We can’t allow the police to operate in secret. Roll back to the way it was. For the public’s sake. Do the then-and-now story. Look back 25 years in your paper and pull out a week’s worth of police blotters and stories. Compare the timeliness and details to a week’s worth of blotters and stories today. Show how news is less timely and contains fewer details today than it did 25 years ago. And this is the information age! Talk to citizens affected. Show why it matters.
Later that night the pro chapter for Oregon and Southwest Washington gathered at the Portland Business Journal for a session. Chapter President Tamara Kent and Treasurer Courtney Sherwood did an excellent job coordinating the meeting.
Coming Tuesday: Heading to Tacoma for a lunch session with the Western Washington Pro Chapter and Washington Coalition for Open Government.