A bill expected to be signed by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says crime incident reports compiled by law enforcement agencies would be considered public records, reports the Hattiesburg American. The reports give basic information when someone is arrested, such as who is involved and where and when an alleged crime took place. Law officers would still be able to withhold some information on investigative reports, such as the names of confidential informants and details about crime victims.
Layne Bruce of the Mississippi Press Association said the new law will reassure the public “if they have questions about crime in their communities.” He said it is also an important measure for law enforcement agencies because it outlines what they are required to give out to the public. “This is great news for the public,” said Kathleen Williams, executive editor of the Hattiesburg American. “There is still a way to go but at least now the public is entitled to get a minimum amount of information from law enforcement about crimes committed in their neighborhoods or cities.” The bill was the centerpiece of a package of bills that sought more sunshine in state government.