House panel backs bill to limit access to some info about police officers

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

A Georgia House panel Tuesday approved a bill that would prevent the public from obtaining some information about police officers from some government websites.

Senate Bill 215 would require local governments to remove personally identifiable information about law enforcement officers from all property records on the internet if the officers request it. Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan, the bill’s sponsor, said it would help prevent people from tracking down and harassing officers at home.

“People are putting information out there that really doesn’t need to be out there,” Brass told the House Governmental Oversight Committee on Tuesday. “It’s a growing problem. We’re simply trying to stop it.”

As originally drafted, the bill would have allowed any public employee — including elected officials — to request their information be stricken from property tax records. Critics said that could allow public officials to abuse their office — by, say, getting a sweetheart deal on real estate — without detection.

The committee approved a substitute bill that would limit the measure only to law enforcement officers. It now goes to the Rules Committee, which will determine whether it gets a vote by the full House.