State police appeal ruling on Fayette legislator's request for trooper numbers
Pennsylvania State Police have appealed a ruling by the Office of Open Records in August granting a Fayette County legislator's bid to learn the number of working troopers assigned to the Uniontown barracks.
Attorneys for state police filed the appeal on Friday in Commonwealth Court opposing state Rep. Tim Mahoney's request for the agency to release its trooper staffing numbers, arguing that public knowledge of the information is a threat to public safety.
“(The Office of Open Records) Final Determination is also incorrect as a matter of law because both harm to individuals and threats to public safety are present with the risk of disclosing manpower information at the station level,” state police counsel Jordan G. Spahr of Harrisburg wrote in the four-page appeal.
State police have maintained that someone could monitor state police barracks and estimate how many troopers are on duty at specific times for nefarious purposes.
Mahoney, a South Union Democrat, has attempted since spring to obtain the information about the Uniontown barracks to assure that his district has adequate police protection.
Mahoney said Tuesday that he is baffled by the refusal to release the information.
“To tell you the truth ... I'm shocked they appealed it. I think this is a no-brainer as far as public disclosure under the state's Right-to-Know Law,” he said. “I'm disappointed. We need to know how many officers we currently have on the street.”
Mahoney pointed to Friday's standoff near Uniontown, in which a couple that reportedly was operating a portable methamphetamine led police on a chase, fired shots at officers, then barricaded themselves in a home in North Union Township.
“That's my district. Drug use is pervasive everywhere, and public safety is a priority statewide right now, but we can't obtain information on how many troopers are out on our streets?” Mahoney said.
“And now we're going to waste more money on appeals when we could be spending that money on getting more protection on the streets,” he said. “It's a shame and unnecessary.”
In July, state police declined Mahoney's request to release the number of troopers assigned to each barracks, arguing the information could threaten public safety.
Mahoney appealed the initial decision. On Aug. 28 the Office of Open Records, which oversees the state's Right-to-Know Law, sided with him.
In its ruling the Office of Open Records noted that the state's Right-to-Know Law is based on government transparency through public access of documents.
A hearing date has not been scheduled.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- Bryant suspension opens doors for other Steelers’ receivers
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison believes Goodell will prevail in Brady ruling
- Sniffer lets PixController detect methane gas leaks
- Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
- Steelers WR Bryant’s suspension upheld
- Risks don’t get any better as online dating prospers
- Pitt defense is entering new season with something to prove
- God is touchy topic in ICU, Pitt study finds