Wis. police redact dog's name from incident report

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Greendale, Wis., police "blacked out the name of a runaway dog — twice — in an incident report," Jim Stingl writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "A Lab/hound mix was all they would say."

"Greenfield Assistant Police Chief Paul Schlecht sighed when I told him about the mystery mutt," Stingl writes, and told the journalist the dog's name is Toby. The edited report reflects a less-amusing imperative: Police say they're worried about releasing information that could get them sued.

The cops are worried about running afoul of the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act, Stingl reports. But the redactions go way beyond driver info:

Terrie Peret, a crime reporter for NOW weekly newspapers in seven Milwaukee County suburbs, has seen the names of businesses and their addresses blotted out, along with the names of police officers and clerks, types of drugs seized, types and colors of stolen cars, and other details.

Related: The first storytelling rule: Get the name of the dog

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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