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'Integrity Bulletins' In 12 States Give Incomplete Police Misconduct Info

Providing public information about police misconduct records can be a messy process. There’s no federal database on misconduct, and most states don’t have a comprehensive one either. In addition, experts say, a tension surrounds police records as public documents, and protecting the privacy rights of officers is an issue.

A 2020 report from Data for Progress and the Justice Collaborative Institute highlighted findings from a national poll that found that of the 1,388 likely voters surveyed, sixty six percent supported “making all law enforcement disciplinary records of police officers available to the public,” reports Cronkite News Service/News 21. Accomplishing that is complicated, said Kevin Goldberg of the Freedom Forum, which advocates for the five freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment.

Once the words “police” and “misconduct” get attached to a record, Goldberg said, law enforcement leaders often claim those records are protected. Unions and officers’ bills of rights have fiercely protected the privacy rights of officers. Goldberg said such resistance has created piecemeal approaches to providing the public access to officer records. Some states provide what are known as “integrity bulletins,” which contain information about officer complaints and investigation outcomes but typically don’t include identifying information – such as the officer’s name. At least 12 states, including Florida, Oregon and Colorado, publish integrity bulletins, according to the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training.


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