The Associated Press has dug up the back story of Sen. Gary Stubblefield’s broad bill to exempt information about school security, from kindergarten though college, from the Freedom of Information Act. Another bill also limits information about Capitol police.
The bill apparently was driven by an FOI request by an AP photographer for names of police officers assigned to an Arkansas football game two years ago. She sought the information to determine if an officer she’d accused of rape would be working the game. He wasn’t.
A University of Arkansas spokesman says the bill is about “safety and security” on campuses. Critics say the bill will allow essentially secret police forces. The Arkansas Press Association has mounted a late lobbying effort against the bill, which has passed the Senate. ASU also is backing the bill.
The schools bill would prevent the release of “records or other information relating to the number of licensed security officers, certified law enforcement officers, or other security personnel employed by or contracting with a state-supported institution of higher education, as well as any personal information about those individuals.” The Capitol Police bill uses similar language.
The agencies would no longer be required to report to the public how many officers are on duty, or how many are white or black, male or female. Perhaps even security video could be off limits, since any perspective shown on a tape would indicate which way a camera is pointing.
Do you know who your police are? It will be impossible should Stubblefield’s bill pass.