Several weeks ago, ORCOPS was made aware of a concerning development regarding the disclosure of officers’ personal information. A local paper submitted a public records request for officer information, including dates of birth and social security information. Ordinarily, this material would be protected from disclosure, but the request was made to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), and there was ambiguity over whether the information was exempt from the request. The Department of Justice ordered (some of) the material released, but DPSST is currently fighting that order in court.
In the meantime, ORCOPS jumped into action in Salem in order to close this loophole. Because the Legislative Session was already in full swing, ORCOPS’ staff and lobbyist worked to identify several bills that could be amended with a simple fix to closing the loophole. We then worked through the State House and Senate Judiciary Committees to amend House Bill 2208. That bill passed the Legislative process yesterday, along with our amendments. It will become effective once it is signed by Governor Brown.
ORCOPS took action immediately because this loophole would have potentially allowed individuals to obtain officer dates of birth. That information could then be used to obtain an officer’s home address and household information from the voter registration database. Our quick efforts means this loophole was closed in about a month.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Under existing laws, counties of residence shield public safety officers’ home addresses and telephone information from public records requests, but this can only be done at the request of the officer. In addition to our work in Salem, ORCOPS urges officers to use these existing tools to protect their information. Ask your local county Assessor and Clerk to protect your personal information in voter registration and property records.
To find your county contact information, go to >>> ORCOPS: Protect Your Personal Information
Daryl Turner, President