By David Cuillier | August 18th, 2010
A New Mexico appeals court ruled Tuesday that complaints against police officers are public records, according to an Associated Press story.
The judges were unanimous in their decision that complaints against police officers are not confidential “personnel” records, as argued by the state Department of Public Safety. Too often public agencies claim that complaints and disciplinary action against public employees are “personnel” issues and therefore exempt from public disclosure. While this is the case in some states, in many states that information is public by statute or case law (as in New Mexico, now!).
Whether your state laws make this information secret or not, fight for them to be made public. It just makes sense. When public employees mess up and violate their trust with their employers, the people, then the bosses (the people) deserve to know!