Police investigation report, city council resumes must be released
IDAHO–State public records laws require disclosure of a police department investigation report and administrative review, as well as names and resumes of applicants for vacant city council positions, the state Supreme Court ruled in mid-April.
The court held that public records are presumptively open unless otherwise expressly provided by statute. Exemptions to the presumption of disclosure should be narrowly construed, the court noted, and the records sought by The Idaho Statesman did not fall under any of the law’s exemptions.
The court noted that the exemption in the public records law pertaining to disclosure of application information exempts only “public employees,” not “public officials”. City council members are public officials and thus not exempt from disclosure requirements, according to the court.
The court also held that an exemption covering personnel records did not apply to the police administrative review because it was a review of the events surrounding the shooting and the applicable laws and departmental policies, not a personnel evaluation.
The case arose when the Statesman asked the Boise police department for an investigation report and an administrative review related to a shooting incident involving Boise police department officers. The police department denied the request.
In a separate request, the Statesman asked the city of Boise for the names and resumes of applicants for vacant positions on the city council. The city declined to release the records without each applicant’s permission. All but five of the applicants agreed to release the information.
The trial court had ruled in late February 1994 that the Statesman was entitled to the names of the city council applicants, but not their resumes. The trial court had also held that the Boise police department was required to disclose the investigation report of the shooting incident, but not the administrative review. (Federated Publications, Inc. v. Boise City; Media Counsel: Michael J. Killeen, Seattle)