Bill to open police logs heads to House

A year ago, the South Dakota House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have made police logs a public record because of objections to another provision also opening up mug shots.

Now they’ll get another shot. This year, supporters removed the mug shot provision and proposed just opening up police logs. That measure passed the Senate unanimously Thursday and now heads to the House.

Currently, police are free to disclose their logs of calls for service and other activity. But law enforcement is under no obligation to do so. That will change if Senate Bill 85 becomes law, making the it mandatory to release police logs.

"This, I think, is good government," said Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City and a former police chief. "People have a right to know what their law enforcement agencies are doing."

The measure contains several exceptions. Police don’t have to disclose information related to mental health calls or ongoing investigations.

(A previous version of this story and headline mistakenly referred to approval being given for the release of mug shots. The bill is concerned with police logs.)