In an article released last Sunday, the Sheriff's Department is listed as not complying with FOIA standards because it refused to give an AP reporter copies of an incident report which he requested.
The reporter was former Cheraw Chronicle editor Stephen Guilfoyle, who refused after several requests to tell Sheriff's Department clerks who he was or why he wanted the report.
“According to the Freedom of Information Act, it doesn't matter who I am or why I want those reports,” Guilfoyle said, adding the reports are a matter of public record and should be easily accessible by the public.
Guilfoyle said not giving his name or reason for wanting the reports was the entire purpose behind the AP exercise.
AP journalists visited 62 sheriff's offices and police departments to request crime incident reports and determine how these agencies handled distributing their reports.
According to the state's Freedom of Information Act, law enforcement agencies are to make certain types of documents available for inspection during regular business hours. That includes crime incident reports that disclose the “nature, substance and location of any crime or alleged crime.”
Law enforcement officers are given the privilege of marking out any information that threatens the safety of the victim or interferes with any ongoing investigation.
For more information, please read the November 17, 2005 edition of the Cheraw Chronicle/Chesterfield Advertiser.