JPD and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

The Jonesboro Police Department Office of Public Information follows the Freedom of Information Act guidelines that were set in place by the Arkansas General Assembly. The FOIA gives the press the right to ask for public records regarding governmental operations.

The JPD Office of Public Information releases all incident reports to the media every working day, before they are requested.

A public record is defined as any writing, sound or video that reflects the performance or lack of performance of an official function. The press will submit a FOIA request and, once received, government entities generally have up to three business days to provide the requested record.

Our department provides a spreadsheet of all generated reports to the media daily. This spreadsheet contains the date, time, location, brief summary of the incident, offense committed, along with the complainant and investigating officer’s name.

There are some exemptions to what can be released. For instance, unapproved and active reports cannot be released until they have been approved and/or closed. Records that are part of an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation are protected as “undisclosed investigations” under the FOIA Martin v. Musteen, 303 Ark. 656, 799 S W.2d 540 (1990).

If an incident is under investigation, all investigative narrative is redacted. Other reasons, per the Arkansas General Assembly, include reports in which the law gives specific exemption, such as sex-crime victims and some juveniles.

For more information regarding the Freedom of Information Act, visit https://arkansasag.gov/resources/foia.