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Virginia Officials Weigh Whether To Release Records Of Arrests And 911 Calls

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The Virginia's Freedom of Information Advisory Council is trying to find a balance between individual privacy and the public's right to know.

The panel first examined Democratic State Sen. John Edwards' bill to permit disclosure of records of closed criminal investigations. He says citizens have a right to know what their officials are doing.

"There's an inconsistency among chiefs of police and sheriffs throughout the commonwealth about what should be released," he says.

The panel also looked at a broader Virginia Press Association proposal to clarify existing law. It includes requiring disclosure of criminal incidents, arrests, and charges within one day of a request, and making available the names of those arrested and their victims, crime details, 911 calls, and other records.

But Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot says releasing some of that goes too far.

"The pain and the suffering the embarrassment, the lies, the humiliation, the brutality, the sex and the raw emotions that re in between the covers of this notebook do not need to be on Youtube," he says.

The panel invited stakeholders to work on a compromise to clarify state law and perhaps allow more openness for inactive files.

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