• 41°

Arrest records also an issue

An additional law enforcement concern for local residents is arecent decision by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department torestrict the release of information on those individuals beingarrested and processed through the county’s jail.

Readers have noticed in recent weeks the daily arrest reportsfor Lincoln County, usually published on page 5, have been erraticat best.

Sheriff Wiley Calcote blames a new computer system installedseveral weeks ago as the culprit.

That may be the case, but at the same time his office hasdecided to restrict what arrest information is released. As aresult, the incomplete information has forced us to suspendpublishing Lincoln County arrest reports for the immediatefuture.

We have long been an advocate of open public records, for publicrecords are just that: “public records.” Mississippi has openrecords laws, but those laws are weak and allow some publicofficials to skirt the law. Across the state many law enforcementofficials are eager to openly share arrest information as they seeit as a deterrent to crime – which helps them to better performtheir jobs.

Simple information like who has been arrested and for whatreason is important to the public welfare and it keeps theminformed. Properly identifying those involved is vital to thepublic good. New policies in Lincoln County no longer allow thatproper identification.

As we research the legalities of the situation, we will keep youinformed.