In Palm Beach County, Fl., police limit news about their fellow officers' arrests by selectively removing them from the county jail’s booking blotter, reports the Palm Beach Post. The decision to cherry-pick names from the system is not a public records issue. The booking blotter is a public service but the jail is not required to produce one. Cherry-picking allows for favoritism by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail and publishes the booking blotter on its website, pbso.org.
The agency blamed its not publishing the names on the blotter’s software. The sheriff’s office can’t edit out information that is exempt from public release, such as an officer’s date of birth and home address, so they delete everything. By leaving out officers’ names, it means that police who are accused of of predatory crimes such as stalking, criminal transmission of HIV and lewd or lascivious conduct could escape public scrutiny. Yesterday, the Sheriff's Office promised to re-post its online booking blotter “in a short time frame” after it was taken off the Internet following the newspaper’s report.