Police reports that The Star newspaper has regularly picked up at the police department now have to be picked up at the city clerk’s office, by order of Grand Coulee Mayor Chris Christopherson.
The newspaper has had access to the reports directly from police officials for nearly two decades and are summarized in Coulee Cops each week.
That ceased last week, and now The Star has to go to the city clerk’s office to get the reports. No explanation was forthcoming other than that the mayor had ordered it.
The police department has provided uncensored reports as an act of transparency, so the public can know exactly what officers do and how they do it.
Asked Sunday about the change and why he had ordered it, Christopherson said he didn’t “remember ordering the change,” but that it was an attempt to get control over public records requests.
Police Chief Mel Hunt said he had received an email directive from the mayor that all public records requests were to be handled through the clerk’s office.
“The police reports are public records,” Hunt noted.
After it was explained that it was more convenient to pick up the reports at the police department so that police officials in charge of the reports could answer any questions, Christopherson said he would look into it.