The Commissioner has directed the agency to be more responsive to public record requests.
A new policy from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety changes the process of releasing police shooting videos and encourages more transparency.
DPS Commissioner Sean Tindell said on Thursday that if a “cloak of secrecy” is maintained, then it lends itself to conspiracy theories and incorrect assumptions. He believes that the public should have a right to view the footage and understand exactly what happened in these cases.
“In the past, the policy on responding to public records request as it related to officer involved shootings was that the Department of Public safety in particular the commissioner would exercise his discretion and not provide any reports and or video of any such incidences due to the nature of the investigation,” Commissioner Tindell told Y’all Politics. “In looking at what has occurred across the country as it relates to officer involved shootings in the greater transparency that we’ve seen in other jurisdictions, I felt like it was it was time to consider those changes here in Mississippi as well.”
Tindell’s guidance for transparency applies to all agencies under his department. They will provide the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation reports as well as any video of those incidences that occur when the grand jury has reviewed the case and no charges are forthcoming. At this point, they will present that evidence to the public. If there is a situation where charges could be brought, they would wait until after a trial and a conclusion of the case to provide that evidence.
“I’ve always been a big believer in transparency and it’s because I believe that with transparency comes accountability and with accountability we we have greater trust in law enforcement by the public,” said Commissioner Tindell.
Tindell’s ultimate goal is to ensure the public’s trust in law enforcement. He believes that by encouraging transparency, law enforcement will be protected in the long run.
“One of the great honors of holding this position is holding it in the state of Mississippi where I know Mississippi is a law enforcement state and the citizens of Mississippi for the most part back the blue,” the Commissioner said. “It’s refreshing when I look across the country to see the push back against law enforcement and know that here, we don’t have that mistrust with our law enforcement. I’m trying to maintain that trust and at the end of the day, these decisions I’ve made I believe will help protect law enforcement in the long run.”