Police agency makes it harder for public to get reports

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BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina police department is making it harder for the public to gain access to routine reports.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports Friday the Bluffton Police Department now says reporters must file formal open records act requests for full police reports.

Previously, the department had made reports including a full narrative of what happened available immediately when reporters requested them. Under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, agencies have 10 days to acknowledge requests and more time to fulfill them.

The newspaper reports the policy change comes after an article questioning the agency’s overtime spending during last year’s Hurricane Matthew, saying officers were paid 24 hours a day, whether actively working or not.

Department spokeswoman Joy Nelson says the article had nothing to do with the change.

Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com

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