Idaho police officers want to remove the home addresses of all law enforcement officials from state public records. The protection would cover police officers, prosecutors, judges, and corrections officers.
“It’s easy for people in the public, including criminals, to find a police officer’s home address and threaten their spouses and children,” Boise Police Officer Joel Teuber told the Senate State Affairs Committee Friday. Teuber, who also spoke for the Idaho Fraternal Order of Police, said attacks and threats to law enforcement officers have increased during the past few years, including threats to employees at state prisons. “They’ve had several incidents where inmates’ family members have gotten a hold of a correction officers’ home phone numbers and addresses and used that to harass, threaten, and intimidate staff members and their family, sometimes to the point of using it to coerce the staff members to do favors for the inmates.”
Teuber said taking the home addresses out of public records would provide a needed safeguard. “It’s a little disconcerting,” he said. “Not so much to me, but more to my wife and my kids. And I think that applies to most judges and prosecutors.”
The State Affairs Committee agreed to introduce the proposed legislation. Senate Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, supported the intent of the plan but asked Teuber about its effectiveness. “With most of our state being rural, it’s hard to protect the identity of a police officer. They wear their uniform. They drive their patrol cars home and park them in their driveway at night.” Teuber agreed that it’s hard to avoid sometimes, but that some officers choose to live in other cities or use private post office boxes for their mail.
The proposed change would require law enforcement officials to apply to have their phone number and address removed from public records. It includes an exception for court orders against law enforcement workers, and Teuber said it wouldn’t change citizens’ ability to file grievances against police officers or other officials.
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