By: M.L. STEIN
THE LAS VEGAS Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has adopted a policy whereby it can classify police reports as secret, according to the Nevada Press Association (NPA).
The association said the department has broad discretion to list police officers’ reports as “secret investigative files.”
The police are basing the policy on the state Supreme Court’s so-called “balancing test” decision. But in a recent suit filed by KOLO-TV, in Reno, against the police department there, the high court ruled in favor of the station. Applying the balancing test, it said the value of public access in the case outweighed the reasons for not disclosing investigative reports.
KOLO sued to open records of the closed criminal investigation of brothel owner Joe Conforte.
Still, said NPA, the Las Vegas police say they are using the court’s balancing test to decide whether records are public.
NPA, which has asked its attorney to explore the police ruling, charged the MPD with creating “its own balancing test, but the test is hardly a balanced one.”
NPA executive director Kent Lauer has written to the head of the MPD, Jerry Keller, terming the police balancing test “way off base.”