Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oklahoma City police post daily jail blotter online, includes DOBs of people arrested


Kudos to Oklahoma City police officials for posting online the daily list of people booked into the county jail by OKC police.

The jail blotter will be posted every day except for weekends and holidays, according to the police department's Web site.

An archive of the previous 30 days of booking also is available.

The blotter is posted at www.ocpd.com. Click the "Jail Blotter” link in the left-side menu.

BTW, the blotter includes the birth dates of those people arrested and booked into the jail.

The state Open Records Act makes public not only jail blotters but also a description of people arrested, including the "date of birth, address, race, sex, physical description, and occupation." (OKLA. STAT. tit. 51, § 24A.8(A)(1-8))

Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County officials have recently refused to disclose the birth dates of their government employees, claiming it would be an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

The Oklahoman requested the information so it could check the names of those employees against databases of criminal records, including jail blotters.

Officials decided to post the blotter because it's a public record with a lot of interest,
police Capt. Patrick Stewart told The Oklahoman.

"What we came up with, I think, will better serve the needs of the public, who no longer have to travel to the police department to see the blotter,” Stewart told the newspaper.

See also Carrie Coppernoll's column about the jail blog. The Oklahoman writer observed,
"Reading a daily police blotter gives us a snapshot of our city."

She noted that mug shots are available online at the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office Web site.


Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

2 comments:

Differing interpretations of law and policy are welcome. Personal attacks and character assassinations will be rejected.