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Hayward, San Leandro flunk public info test

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Hayward and San Leandro got the lowest grade available, an F-, in an audit examining the openness of California police departments. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, which protects Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and places in between, also received an F- in the report published today.

The grades are the result of an investigation by a coalition of journalists, including the Review’s own Martin Ricard, who visited police departments across California to find out if they were releasing public information when asked. Many were not.

In San Leandro, according to the report, an “officer who wouldn’t give her name told the requester she wouldn’t accept a written request unless she knew what the records would be used for.” In Hayward, the requester was asked multiple times for identification and what the information would be used for. Similar problems arose at the California Highway Patrol branch office in Hayward.

The audit also gave departments a numerical ranking. Dixon, a small city in Solano County, did the best in the state with a score of 94; East Palo Alto was the worst in the Bay Area, with a score of 5. East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis, who lives in Hayward, told a reporter he was dismayed by the score. Local scores were as follows: Alameda County Sheriff’s Department (20), CHP Hayward (10), Hayward police (25), San Leandro police (20).

Want to read more about the audit? Check out how it was done, what the law says and how different departments scored.

Have you had positive or negative experiences trying to get public information from local government agencies? Please let us know.

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  • monica

    Great article. This is the kind of stuff I like to read about. I haven’t had any bad experiences because I’ve never requested any thing. Didn’t know I could; but now I do. Thanks!

  • annie

    I encourage future newspaper investigations/audits on Police Departments in the Bay Area. In view of past Daily Review articles on Hayward PD, this could be a very interesting focus. Especially to ask the average Hayward citizen how they think the Police Dept. is doing. In last 6 months dealt with 4 separate depts in the Hayward PD on same issue of coming forward as a good citizen…same in each Dept. heard how they have limited resources, no return calls or follow-ups, not a cop available to do even a few hours of surveilance and ultimately treated like the “wrong doer”- which was probably just to make the situation go away and they wouldn’t have to deal with it. Yet, the City pushes neighborhood watch programs, etc. but, what good does it do when there is police apathy and no one willing to followup or even check out very good leads, as they don’t have any police available, so “they” say. Sure feel safe in Hayward-NOT.

  • jeff

    Excellent piece, I have gone to the Eden Township Substation in San Leandro and requested a couple police report.