- Associated Press - Sunday, May 25, 2014

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Seven of eight Connecticut police departments that three newspapers say refused to release documents required by state law have improved their access to arrest information.

The New Haven Register reports that the Hamden Police Department’s arrest log was not available. Police Chief Thomas Wydra said he would look into it.

Reporters at the Register, The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen visited all 92 municipal police departments and 11 state police troops in March to check compliance with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act.

Five municipal police departments and one state police troop failed the initial test, providing no arrest information at the time of the visit. The departments were Branford, Middlebury, New Haven, state police Troop G in Bridgeport, West Haven and Westport.

Hamden and Redding each got a “D” because some arrest information was available online or emailed to reporters, but not provided at the department.

Basic arrest information is required to be released under state law, including the names and addresses of those arrested, charges and time and place of arrest. Exemptions, including the names of juveniles, sexual assault victims and informants, are permitted.

In a follow-up visit on May 21 to the Hamden Police Department, a reporter was told the arrest log was not immediately available because an information technology specialist was off that day and unable to help process the request. A records clerk asked the reporter to call the next day.

The following day, the reporter was told it would take more time to redact information such as the arrest of juveniles.

Another time, a reporter was told the information was still not ready and might not be ready until a week after the initial visit because of the Memorial Day holiday weekend and because the records department is closed Tuesdays.

“That information should have been available immediately,” Wydra said, promising to look into the delays.

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Information from: New Haven Register, https://www.nhregister.com

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