Juneau police wait six months to make Clevenger report public

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2008

A police report on an investigation into an officer fatally shooting Randall Clevenger came out seven months after a legal request was filed and six months after the report was completed.

Lt. Kris Sell, the investigator, completed the report Sept. 17 and the document was reviewed by 0ct. 1. The Juneau Police Department released the report March 14.

The Juneau Empire filed a legal request for the report on Aug.16.

The city's legal department advised the police department on the information request and on Aug. 30, Deputy City Attorney Barbara Ritchie responded to it in writing. She said the report would be available only after the police chief determined the investigation was complete.

"At that point we will review the records involved for disclosure under the Public Records Act, make any deletions appropriate under the law and provide you with a copy as you requested," Ritchie said.

Months of follow-up inquiries, made to the legal department and various police officials at headquarters, were met with no answer on when the report would be released or if it was complete.

Chief Greg Browning on Wednesday said the months-long wait was unavoidable because a legal review needed to be conducted to protect people's privacy.

Browning said that public information requests often sit low on the hierarchy of important work conducted by Juneau police.

"It's just what happens," he said. "It's the reality."

City Attorney John Hartle recently said he told the police department, over the winter, to release the file. Hartle said he couldn't think of a reason to keep the document from the public.

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