New Richmond paper challenges police policyArea News
-- The New Richmond News has sued the city of New Richmond, alleging the police department is unreasonably restricting access to timely information on accident and incident reports.
NEW RICHMOND -- The New Richmond News has sued the city of New Richmond, alleging the police department is unreasonably restricting access to timely information on accident and incident reports.
The suit claims the department is misinterpreting a recent ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court, names the city as a defendant because it is responsible for the police department’s actions. It asks that the department reverse its policies and pay attorneys’ fees and damages in the case.
The newspaper and the department disagree on the interpretation and application of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act regarding requests for access to law enforcement records under the Open Records Law. The News contends that DPPA doesn’t require removal of personal information before public disclosure under the Open Records Law. The newspaper cites a 2008 Wisconsin attorney general’s ruling in its filing.
The police department contends that DPPA requires redaction or blacking out of identifying information -- names, address, birth dates and driver’s license numbers -- before records are released if that information came from motor vehicle records maintained by the Department of Transportation.
Kristina Williamson, representing the city, said the department stands by its decision to restrict the release of identifying information.