New Garden Grove Policy Opens Up Law Enforcement Records of Officials

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The Garden Grove City Council this week unanimously approved a policy requiring the release of certain law enforcement records involving elected public officials.

Councilman Phat Bui proposed the resolution after a controversy that started when a resident requested an audio recording of Mayor Bao Nguyen having a late-night conversation with an on-duty police officer Mike Viscomi, taken from the officer’s microphone.

The city denied the initial request, under the California Public Records Act, for the recording, citing concerns that Nguyen was not aware the recording was taking place. After several residents submitted requests, the council gathered in closed session to authorize its release, with Nguyen recusing himself from the vote.

The resolution would compel the release of law enforcement complaints, investigatory records, and code enforcement records about elected public officials, as long as those records aren’t specifically exempt from disclosure or part of an active police investigation.

“We need to pay attention to public perception and public trust,” said Bui. “I think it’s important we allow the public to see what’s going on with elected officials.

Nguyen agreed, but suggested the resolution apply to all records for elected officials past and present.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.