Port Clinton police practice censorship

Register
Jun 18, 2013

When it comes to releasing public information state law prohibits public officials from picking and choosing which documents to release. 

But some public attorneys and some law enforcement leaders don't seem to understand the responsibilities they have or they are misinterpreting their duties under the law. We don't like to think any public official would intentionally circumvent, or willfully violate the Ohio Revised Code, especially that part of government — police and municipal law directors — assigned to enforce the law. 

It seems, however, that willful obliviousness of the rules does occur.  

Port Clinton police chief Rob Hickman refuses to comply with simple and lawful requests for public documents, insisting that he be allowed to use Facebook to censor the information arbitrarily and without explanation. State law allows for some censorship, but the process is spelled out and specific as to what reasons and what explanations are required. The Ohio Revised Code also spells out specifically the steps that must be taken to withhold public records. 

Hickman is skipping every step the law requires, and Port Clinton law director George Wilber has offered no solutions. He's giving tacit approval to Hickman's censorship decisions through his inaction and has offered no explanation why state law is being ignored.  

The actions and responses from Hickman and Wilbur seem to be an obvious and blatant disregard of state law. Improper censorship by public officials is a practice that demands attention. 

The public records mediation service of the Ohio Attorney General's office has been asked to review Hickman's censorship decisions. We hope the AG's office addresses it swiftly and instructs both Hickman and Wilber to either justify the censorship according to the law, or cease censoring public information.

Comments

Centauri

There are some prominent people in Port Clinton, Ohio that break the law at times. They don't want their names in the newspaper.

Jmschmidt812

Has Sandusky crime dried up that you need to go out of your city to dig up more? I'm really not sure what relevance, if any, there is about the low or insignificant crimes that happen in Port Clinton. If you want police logs, call the bigger departments like Cleveland or Columbus. Or better yet go after the federal agencies in Ottawa county and ask them to give you their reports, I'm sure they'll have much more interesting things to read than Port Clinton PD.

sandtown born a...

Maybe just maybe the Chief of Mayberry or Port Clinton should follow the laws he swore to uphold then NO STORY no beating the of the dead horse just goes away. NOPE he chooses to pick and choose what he will release its called censorship . Let them do it now and soon they will cross other lines and hide even more from the public. STOP DRINKING THE PC KOOL-AID

Jmschmidt812

Your response is comical. Always with the what if's and possibilities. I'm sure that's exactly what the PCPD is doing, sitting around trying to figure out what they can get away with next. And he didn't say he would only release what he wanted, he asked that the SR pick the ones they wanted and he would get them to them. And is this really going to be worth all the hassle to get those reports, honestly? I'm sure the SR could use their time and energy doing news worthy stories other than the woman who got a bad hair cut. The kool-aid statement can also be used with you, stop believing what the SR prints as the truth.

Erie County Resident

I agree 100% with the Freedom of Information Act to a point.
They say we have a right to know and I agree, but I can also see why these agencies buck at any and all requests.
1st. Printing off hundreds of requests cost a lot of money.
2nd. When the SR published the CCW list with name, street and city address of every person on the list I lost ALL respect for the local media.
The people on that CCW list are now targets for theft and violence after having criminals given this shopping list for guns and former domestic violence victims. Adds more work load on LE also thanks to this.
I can imagine this does have some weight on LE decision to restrict access as to their motives.

ymite

Who annoited the SR the responsibiltiy to be a story creator for the community or the peoples' knight in shining armor to wring every last bit of useless information out of local citizenry? How about focusing on the positive aspects of the community and stop the witch hunts.

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