Oh, Good. Secret Police! Just What We Need. Banana Republic, Anyone?

A police officer in Chicago posing on a Segway...

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From Texas, quite possibly the worst FOI exemption of the year!

The Texas Senate approved legislation Tuesday banning the release of police officers’ photos in most cases, a bill open government advocates opposed.

House Bill 2006, by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, next heads to Gov. Rick Perry.

It specifies that an officer’s photo can be released by a police department if the officer has been charged with a crime, if the photo is evidence in a court case and in a few other instances.

The Houston Police Department pushed hard for the bill, saying releasing officers’ photos to the public would endanger undercover officers or those targeted by gangs. Under current law they can keep police officers’ photos out of public view, but an officer must sign an affidavit. Police officials said that can be an administrative nightmare.

And if a police officer is involved in a newsworthy incident, but has not yet been charged? Secret. The police officers who, hypothetically, enter the wrong home on a search arrant and tear the place up, then leave? Secret. The officer whose intervention in a dramatic search-and-rescue effort saved the day? I am guessing…not so secret.

This is utterly ridiculous. Sure, there are rare cases in which an officer’s name, in an undercover situation, needs protection. But in 99% of police interventions, there is not a thing in the world that is the least bit private about who the taxpayer-funded, public figure toting the gun and the badge is.

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