The New Orleans Police Department and the Times-Picayune have reached an agreement that will require the police department to turn over police incident reports in a more timely manner.
The new agreement comes after the newspaper sued the department in April for routinely delaying the release of incident reports and failing entirely to provide numerous records that the newspaper had requested.
The agreement requires the police department to release incident reports to the public after they are approved by a shift supervisor. Reports that contain “sensitive” details will also be available to the public, though the police department will be allowed to withhold the sensitive details.
Records should be available to the paper within 48 hours, according to Lori Mince, attorney for the Times-Picayune.
“Our biggest concern was the police reports,” Mince said. “It just wasn’t acceptable to have a 15-day lag time to get basic information. The new deal is workable.”
The department and the newspaper are still negotiating what legal fees the police department will pay the paper. Under the consent order, the department will also provide six items that the paper requested between December 2007 and March 2008. Additionally, the police department will make the "RTF report," which lists all calls for service received by the department and the reason for the call, available by 9 a.m. every day.