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Proposal Would Exempt 911 Tapes from Freedom of Information Act

Proposal Would Exempt 911 Tapes from Freedom of Information Act

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

Hearing a panicked called to 911 might provide compelling entertainment, but an Illinois state senator says it probably does not add enough information to make it worth traumatizing, say, a teacher in a school shooting all over again.

He’s introduced a bill to shield 911 recordings from public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Potentially, to relive that experience,” says State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago), “when the tape is released publicly and broadcast on the news and living forever on YouTube and the Internet, is something that I think invades the privacy of the individuals.”

Cunningham says hearing the 911 recordings from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut inspired him to sponsor the bill.

Cunningham, a former spokesman for the Cook County sheriff’s office, says he respects the public’s right to know, and adds there would be circumstances under which people could get their hands on the recordings. That would include when the caller gives permission, or, perhaps, when a recording is played in court.

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