Phoenix police will no longer give the public or news media the date of birth, address, or other personal data of arrested suspects, claiming their lawyers advise the release of such information could violate a state anti-identify-theft law.
The law obviously needs to be tweaked -- and soon, now that a major police department has decided on its own to make government a little less transparent.
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We have been notified by the Phoenix Police Department Legal Unit advisors (our department attorneys) of certain changes in what information we can release to the media and the public. Our legal advisors tell us the City of Phoenix Law Department is basing their decisions on the public policy of protecting personal identifying information as defined in Arizona Revised Statute13-2001.
We wanted to advise you as soon as possible of the changes, a couple of which are going to immediately impact all of us. These changes are effective immediately. An official Operations Orders policy change will also be forthcoming in the near future, but the changes are being implemented immediately at the recommendation of our legal unit and the City Law Department. As always, please feel free to express concerns to us. However, any official questions need to be directed to the City of Phoenix Law Department.
Please note that the public records request protocol has NOT changed. You will still use the email address, email@example.com.
Our Legal Unit and the City of Phoenix Law Department have recommended, and PhoenixPolice management has immediately adopted the following release of information protocol:
Dates of birth of suspects (even if booked into jail) and victims (even if deceased) will not be released to the media or the public. No addresses, phone numbers, or social security numbers will be released for victims or suspects. We will release names of suspects with ages and race only. Victim names will not be released. We will release victim age and race only. If a victim is deceased we will release name, age, and race only once next of kin has been notified.
Please advise all of your staffs of these changes.