The Kind of Reporting FOI Makes Possible….

Kudos to Milwaukee (Wis.) Journal Sentinel investigative reporter Gina Barton, whose excellent October 2011 three-part series “Both Sides of the Law” found that at least 93 Milwaukee police officers had been disciplined for violating laws and ordinances, but didn’t lose their jobs.

Barton said it took nearly two years of records requests, a court case, and $7,500 in fees to complete the story. Her findings made an impact in the local community — and with state legislators.

In such tough times for newsrooms, such work is particularly noteworthy. The dedication of time and resources here is impressive, and the results? Well, the speak for themselves. Check out the series here. And don’t miss this section, which contains the FOI saga and all of the primary source documents.

This is also powerful evidence of why internal complaint files must be public — and they are not in many states — and what lurks in the darkness when such records are kept secret.

Milwaukee Police Department

Image via Wikipedia

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