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plan2succeed has today submitted a request for access to police department records, that can be found in the police records section of the long hill township police department's web site. people reading this from elsewhere can make similar requests from their own police about their own public libraries. we will post the results of our request here.
[space reserved to post results.]
below is the wording we used in our request:
this request is being made by the members of plan2succeed.org who are citizens of long hill township. unfiltered computers in the public library have in the past and may in the future attract people who might commit crimes, misdemeanors, and lesser offenses against children, the library staff, and the public in general. the library uses no filters and refuses to consider citizen input in part because, as the library has informed us, the public is too unsophisticated to be able to determine the legality of whether or not children should have access to online pornography. plan2succeed's goal is to have the library follow the wishes of the citizenry as determined by, for example, a public ballot question.
plan2succeed is making an effort to educate the public about the facts and the law of the underlying issues so that they may have informed input via some means such as a public ballot question. for example, a june 2003 us supreme court case found that filtering software "does not violate their patrons' first amendment rights" and that censorship concerns "are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled." "the interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all members of the court appear to agree."
as to the facts, that is why we are making this request for records of crimes, misdemeanors, and other computer and internet-related activity in the long hill township public library from an unbiased, disinterested law enforcement point of view. using this information, and given that the new library will contain better, faster computers with better, faster internet connections, an extrapolation can be made of what amount of criminal activity might be expected in the new library if filters are not installed.
to assist as best we can in the records review, we provide information gleaned from past issues of the echoes-sentinel weekly local newspaper. we are most interested in the specific facts behind the parts in bold:
we are aware that if library activity was not reported, the police will not know about it. further, many crimes go unreported. a statement of this fact and perhaps an estimate of how many crimes go unreported would be greatly appreciated.
once we get these records, we will post them up online for all to see, perhaps after removing the full names of those involved. the records will likely become part of any legal filing we may eventually make. these records are a baseline to show what happened before the new, fast computers and internet opens in the new library.
please feel free to exceed the time limit for providing the records since we are not in a rush and since the records extend over many years. similarly, we respectfully request that any photocopying fees are waived given the nature of our organization, our request, and the important public purpose for which it is intended.
thank you for your assistance.