Illinois - (ECWd) -
At a time in our society when trust in our government officials is being questioned daily, our Illinois State Police (ISP), have thrown another curve ball that clearly points to a problem and only helps to erode trust in that agency. We want to emphasise; there are many honest, ethical, and trusted Officers within this agency and just because we are pointing out the bad actors does not mean the whole agency is to blame. We ask those with the integrity too please fix this problem and make the corrections public so that trust can be earned in an agency we need in this state.
We have been seeking evidence from the ISP since the 2012 conviction of two Edgar County Corrections officers as we believe certain records in their possession will point to another Edgar County official that avoided prosecution.
A ruling by the Attorney General Public Access Counselor in 2015 found that the ISP violated the Freedom of Information Act and instructed the ISP to provide the records. To date, they have refused.
The Better Government association wrote a recent article that highlighted this particular case and the information they obtained creates a real problem of the ISP. Their article can be read here.
The Problem for the ISP?:
- 2012 -ISP contended that redacting the interviews would constitute the creation of new records
- 2016 -ISP tells the BGA reporter -“The technology didn’t exist in 2012 to redact the information without undo expense,” “If they want to resubmit the FOIA, now there is new technology that does exist to redact the information.”
Now they claim the technology DID NOT exist in 2012 yet that is not what they told the Attorney General in 2012. They also claimed now there is new technology that does exist to redact the information and imply a new FOIA would be honored.
I re-submitted the same FOIA as 2012 and what did the ISP say on this matter?
Mr. Allen--With the additional information you provided, the video interview of Jason Ball was located. As you will recall in the response to your FOIA request #12-0966, the Illinois State Police (ISP) does not possess the proper equipment to adequately obliterate the sections of the video that are subject to redaction. This interview was not transcribed; therefore, no transcript exists. Consequently, ISP has no further material to release to you.
So now we have our top Law Enforcement agency refusing once again to provide records claiming they don't have the equipment to adequately obliterate sections subject to redaction all while their spokesman, Master Sgt. Jason Bradley tells the BGA that they do in fact have such equipment now.
A request for review has been filed on this matter as the BGA article reported that in the event the ISP were to deny my request they may issue a binding opinion against the ISP. Sadly, we don't believe for a second the Attorney General PAC office will issue a binding opinion on this matter nor do I believe they will exercise their subpoena power to get the records for their own review.
We will update this article as it moves through the process, a process that previously took over two years that resulted in violations of the law by the very agency tasked with enforcing our laws, the ISP.
We do ask that ISP Director Schmitz looks into this matter and determine who is lying to the public on this matter and take corrective action. Anything short of that sends a message to the public that there is no longer any accountability within our top State Law Enforcement agency.
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