The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office has been selectively taking names of police officers who get arrested off the booking blotter, effectively giving busted cops special treatment over regular folks who get their names, mug shots, and personal information put online for all to see when they get thrown in jail.
A story published Sunday by the Palm Beach Post revealed the practice, which PBSO officials have since admitted to doing. Their excuse is that their computer program doesn't allow them to scrub officers' home addresses and birth dates, which is not allowed to be released to the public under state law. And since they can't take off that information, they decided to just leave police off the record entirely.
The PBSO has done this for all five officers (that we know of) arrested this year, including the recent arrest of Boynton Beach officer Stephen Maiorino, who is accused of raping a woman at gunpoint on the hood of his patrol car.
But as the Post points out, the PBSO was able to scrub addresses and birth dates of officers before -- like how they did for Boynton Beach Police Officer Alex Lindsey in 2011 when he was arrested for falsifying documents.
Interestingly, the PBSO's booking blotter was offline Monday night and the link instead goes straight the site's homepage. The PBSO tells the Post it will continue to be offline "until further notice."
Records of the officer arrests are still available to the public under Florida's open records law, but for now, a request to the PBSO must be made to obtain them. But with the booking blotter currently down, even non-police officers will enjoy the privilege of not having their mug shot and private information published online for all to see and use for money-making purposes like charging a fee to take to take the information off private websites. For now, at least.
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