Documents released by police contained Social Security info

New London - The city has apologized for inadvertently including Social Security numbers on police reports provided to The Day under a Freedom of Information request.

The information was posted online at theday.com with a column by David Collins on Friday about the police department's canine program. The documents were removed from the website when editors became aware that the Social Security information was included, said Timothy Dwyer, The Day's executive editor.

Zak Leavy, executive assistant to the mayor, said standard procedure is to redact Social Security numbers when documents are made public.

"This was just an error by secretarial staff at the police department when they were compiling the information. This is just an oversight," Leavy said. "The city apologizes for this unintentional error."

Collins had requested five years of police reports pertaining to incidents involving dog bites by police dogs and copies of the complaints involving police dogs. Several Social Security numbers were included in the police reports.

Dwyer said it is The Day's policy not to publish personal information such as Social Security numbers.

"In response to a Freedom of Information request, the city inadvertently provided us with documents that contained Social Security numbers for some individuals. Once we realized the documents contained this personal information, the documents were removed from theday.com," Dwyer said.

"The Day's policy is to not edit documents released to us under a Freedom of Information request, so we filed a second Freedom of Information request this week. The request is pending," Dwyer said.

Thomas A. Hennick, the state Freedom of Information Commission's public education officer, said the commission historically orders the redaction of Social Security numbers on a document that would otherwise be released under state law. It does not order release of Social Security numbers.

g.smith@theday.com

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