Newly elected State Senator John Schickel (R-Union) is wasting your time and money. He’s sponsoring legislation to prevent media from using tapes of 911 telephone calls. Why? He says they’re only used to boost ratings.
Kentucky Press Association executive director David Thompson said the measure could remove critical public oversight of emergency dispatchers and law enforcement authorities, making it difficult to determine when they have done their jobs well and when they haven’t.
“It’s not just something that the press should be concerned about; it’s something the public should be concerned about,” Thompson said.
The Kentucky Open Records Act requires emergency dispatching centers to make 911 calls available to the public when requested. That law has provided Kentuckians with sometimes highly emotional accounts of any number of heart-rending tragedies, including the first reports of a teen whose feet were severed on a Louisville amusement park ride in 2007 and the deadly crash of Comair Flight 5191 at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport in 2006.
Senate Bill 30 is a waste of time, your tax dollars and is a dangerous move toward limiting free speech and open records/sunshine laws in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If something major happens, the public has the right to know about it. And the press is tasked with the responsibility of keeping government in check– that includes keeping an eye on services like 911. Requiring a court order to obtain a mere transcript of a 911 call? Please.
Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?