We're not cops over here at New Times, but we do know one important thing about undercover police work: the undercover part.
That's apparently what Scottsdale police were trying to explain to an Arizona Republic reporter, who posted pretty much everything but the address of the PD's new building that will play home to undercover work by the Investigative Service Bureau.
After a few seconds' worth of Google searches based on the Republic's article, we -- and at least one other person -- had the name of the seller, the address of the building, the building's floor plan, and somewhat detailed descriptions of the building's interior and exterior, including the types of light bulbs.
The city's purchase of the building will become public record when
the deal's done, but "undercover police building" or any similar phrase won't
be making an appearance in the records.
Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark tells New Times that police disclosed to the Republic that it was for undercover work after inquiries over things being redacted in the city's public documents related to the sale, including the name of the seller, the escrow agent, and title insurer, as well as the building's address.
Clark surmised the Republic went for the story after "not getting their way" in a records request for all the information.
The police department and the higher-ups in the city objected to the Republic publishing the information -- which is useful to just about nobody -- but, ya know, First Amendment and whatnot.
Clark described the Republic's move as "completely irresponsible," as he says police tried to explain the officer-safety issues to the reporter.
As for the taxpayer's right to know about the city purchasing a building for almost a couple million bucks, the money didn't come from the city's general fund. The building is being purchased using federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) funds, which are obtained through asset forfeiture proceedings.
City documents explain that the city currently leases a building for the undercover work, but the new building is supposed to be more cost-effective.