Madison
49° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

Police dept. causes controversy in limiting arrest info

Published On: May 16 2013 12:23:29 AM CDT   Updated On: May 16 2013 08:19:27 AM CDT

Channel3000.com

Edgerton Police Department

EDGERTON, Wis. -

A Rock County community is already implementing a decision from a federal appeals court limiting the release of personal information.

Senne vs. the Village of Palastine was recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The circuit court said the Driver's Privacy Protection Act prohibited municipalities from disclosing personal information obtained from a motor vehicle record. The ruling could have an impact on Wisconsin Open Records laws. Wisconsin's attorney general is waiting to issue guidelines for the federal ruling since the case could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But officials in Edgerton aren't waiting.

The Edgerton Reporter's been keeping the community informed since 1874.

"There's no reason for the city to keep this information out of our hands," said long-time News Reporter Mark Scarborough.

He said how the police department is interpreting a recent federal court ruling is making reporters' jobs more difficult. Scarborough said the Edgerton Police Department is withholding information about people involved in crimes.

"They will not be willing to tell us last names, ages and addresses in people involved in these kinds of activities, which means we can no longer report the news," Scarborough said.

News 3 asked Edgerton's police Chief Tom Klubertanz to address specifics on the change in policy.

Klubertanz declined to go on camera but agreed to have his voice recorded.

"The city attorney has reviewed it and has advised us on what we should be doing in redacting and things of that nature," Klubertanz said. "We're currently in the process of changing our procedure here with rules and try to abide by the new law."
Edgerton's City Attorney Dale Pope was not available for comment.

City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said changes to the public record will impact their office.

"The guidelines we've been given by our city attorney [are] we have to restrict the information we release to the public from DMV records," Flanigan said. For instance the city won't be able to use DMV records to locate delinquent taxpayers.

"[The city attorney] said there really is a restriction on how you use those motor vehicle records, you have to use them for something related to motor vehicles," Flanigan said. "He doesn't think you can use them for other kinds of things."

She said the city attorney's guidelines aren't meant to suppress information from the public. "It's a balance, and in this case we now have a new set of rules that were handed to us and we, as we always do, try and provide as much information as we can."

Attorney General JB Van Hollen hasn't issued guidelines to cities on how to implement the federal court ruling stemming from the Illinois case.

According to a 2012 statement from the office of the state's top cop, it said he'll wait to issue guidelines as the federal ruling since this case could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I hope you can understand our reasons for waiting until after the case is fully resolved before addressing the issues in an attorney general's opinion," writes Kevin Potter, assistant attorney general.

Advertisement
  • Isreali President Shimon Peres

    Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

    Notable deaths of 2016

    Here's a look at some of the celebrities we've lost so far in 2016.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

  • Passport

    RandyHarris/iStock

    Mistakes people make when moving abroad

    Moving abroad? Realtor.com has put together a list of six mistakes people make when they're moving abroad. Click through, so you don't make the same mistakes during your move.

Advertisement