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ACLU joins fight to obtain law academy records

Updated: 03/04/2014 7:18 PM | Created: 03/04/2014 5:21 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The American Civil Liberties Union is joining the fight to get records from the state Law Enforcement Academy – records the Academy director said he would burn before showing them to the public.

It’s all about police training – should teaching materials on the use of deadly force be secret, or open to public scrutiny?

When a State Police officer fired his gun at a van full of children during a traffic stop near Taos last fall, people around the country began questioning the training at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy. Our news partners at The Santa Fe New Mexican filed a request under the Inspection of Public Records Act to see the training curriculum, but Academy director Jack Jones refused.

“I’ll burn them before you get them,” Jones told The New Mexican.

Now the ACLU has filed a similar request for the records.

“There’s a principle to be served and that is the principle of open government, the principle of transparency,” said New Mexico ACLU director Peter Simonson. “Those are the basic fundaments of our democracy and at some point our organization needs to stand up and make sure that those are protected.”

Simonson says if the ACLU request is turned down, the group is prepared to go to court and challenge the decision.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 received a statement from the Department of Public Safety that reads, "DPS has always and will continue to fully comply with any IPRA request we receive."


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