HB 429 – Private police-records public-limits on disclosure (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_HB_429
HB 429 makes records kept by private police departments subject to Ohio public records law. It also defines a private police officer as one who has the power to arrest and is a member of a campus, non-profit, bank, railroad, hospital, or amusement park police force.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Bishoff (D), Rep. Henne (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Antonio (D), Rep. Barborak (D), Rep. Fedor (D), Rep. Foley (D), Rep. Lundy (D), Rep. Phillips (D), Rep. R. Hagan (D), Rep. Strahorn (D), Rep. Terhar (R)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou130.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0429?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
More than 800 privately employed police officers in Ohio are authorized by the state to investigate crimes, carry handguns and make arrests. However, unlike officers employed by public departments, they are not required to provide records to the public.
This is a glaring omission to public records laws. It is essential that the communities affected by private police forces know the details of how the law is being enforced in their neighborhoods. This loophole of secrecy must be closed.
The ACLU of Ohio strongly supports HB 429 as it allows for much greater transparency, and therefore accountability, in a police department’s policies and procedures.