Goetz: What can be withheld?

The Mountain Mail (Salida): After an article we wrote about an incident on Monarch Pass in which Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze told us it was the department’s policy not to release names involved in suicides, I started questioning this statement.

Before I go any further, we don’t necessarily want the name of a suicide victim and would question whether we would use the name if a law enforcement department gave it to us.

The exception to that might be a person who is famous, who has a public standing in our community or who takes their life in a public incident.

But in this case, I am questioning whether a law enforcement agency can withhold information, what type of information and why.

I sent a list of questions to Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

Are law enforcers bound to give the press information following an incident? Can they pick and choose the information they give to us, or do Sunshine Laws include only documents such as a police record? Does anything other than politics and their good nature compel them to say anything?

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