Marsy’s Law Blocking Crime Information From Being Released
South Dakota voters said yes to Constitutional Amendment S or Marsy’s Law on Election Day. The amendment is aimed at protecting the rights of victims and their family members. At first, law enforcement officials weren’t quite sure how it would affect the amount of information they are able to release to the public. Now we’re learning just how much.
Accidents and crimes are broadcast over the police scanner each and every day. However, not everything hits the public airwaves. Sometimes the chatter is vague and not everything you hear is confirmed. That’s when we turn to law enforcement to find out the truth. But the new Constitutional Amendment is making it hard to get all the facts.
Sioux Falls Police Information Officer Sam Clemens said, “Ultimately, it’s about protecting the victims.”
Sioux Falls Police provide the media and the public with a police log, which lists the type of incident that occurred in the city, the date, time and the address where it took place. Now, that’s no longer the case.
“Even if we’re giving out a hundred block, it’s still easy for somebody to walk up and down a street and knock on a door to find that victim,” said Clemens.
Instead of the actual address, the log provides a beat number associated with a larger area of the city.
Clemens said, “People, they’re not going to understand what beat 70 is or where that is but if they go on a map they can see that it’s northwest part of Sioux Falls.”
So from now on you’ll likely hear what part of town a crime occurred. You won’t know if it happened down the block or right next door; Unless, police say, a victim allows them to release the information.
“We’re still going to be able to release some more of those details, but unfortunately it’s not going to be right away,” Clemens said.
Police say it’s possible that if a crime takes place and there is no victim, such as a DUI arrest, they would have to consider whether or not they could release the address.
Sioux Falls Police say this is the best solution they could come up with until they get more direction.