Last week, the New York City Police Department said that its precincts no longer would provide journalists with the forms detailing crime reports. On Monday, shortly after CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Dean Stephen Shepard protested the change to Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the department announced access would be restored, reports The Nabe. Deputy Police Commissioner of Public Information John McCarthy, responding to Shepard's letter within a half-hour of getting it by email, said that journalists still will be allowed to view the weekly crime reports in a timely manner – provided they make requests through his office.
McCarthy said police officials want to ensure that “confidential information that could jeopardize the safety of a witness or compromise an ongoing investigation” is not released to the media. He said information withheld also would include the identities of arrested minors, victims under 16, abused or neglected children and sex crime victims. The Nabe said that information already is kept confidential in its dealings with the NYPD’s 88th Precinct. McCarthy said many precincts for years have allowed reporters regular access without going through the “chain of command.” Journalists at community news outlets were told by local precinct officials last week that they would no longer be able to see crime reports.