Oklahoma public safety chiefs push to keep birth dates secret

BY JOHN ESTUS Modified: April 7, 2010 at 11:00 am •  Published: April 7, 2010
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Top state public safety officials made an emotional plea Tuesday to keep secret the birth dates of state employees, particularly those working in law enforcement.

Without citing specifics, the officials said releasing birth dates could endanger the lives of officers and their families and compromise the state’s ability to fight crime and terrorism.

However, the officials were unable to cite any specific harm suffered by public employees due to the release of their birth dates or other information available under the state Open Records Act.

"Off the top of my head I can’t point to you a case that says as a result of an investigation or this conduct that we can tie it back to an open records request that was made to do that,” Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Ward said at a news conference.

The news conference was organized by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, the House author of Senate Bill 1753, which would exempt public employee birth dates from the Open Records Act.

Terrill is chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on public safety, which controls the budgets of most state law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Senate Bill 1753 is set to be heard Thursday by the House appropriations committee.



News conference participants

→Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City

→Rep. Randy Terrill,

R-Moore

→Kevin Ward, Public Safety commissioner

→Melissa Houston, chief of staff, Oklahoma Homeland Security Office

→Trent Baggett, acting executive coordinator,

District Attorney’s Council

→Larry Birney, executive director, Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training

→DeWade Langley, director, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation

→Darrell Weaver, director, Oklahoma Bureau of

Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control

→Keith Burt, director,

Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission

→Ed Evans, associate

director for field operations, Oklahoma Department of Corrections

→Robert Doke, state fire marshal

→Sterling Zearley, executive director, Oklahoma Public Employees Association

→Russell Knoke, president, Oklahoma State Troopers Association

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