The Eugene Police Department made permanent changes to its public dispatch log last week that leave out descriptive details of each incident entered by emergency dispatchers.
A police spokesperson said the changes are meant to better protect the public, preserving the privacy of citizens who call 911.
The online dispatch log, which the Emerald uses to compile the weekend crime wrap-up, no longer includes comments — a section that described the reported incident and often included information about the caller.
“If people don’t tell 911 operators they want to remain anonymous, their name goes on there,” said EPD spokesperson Melinda Kletzok. “It looked like (publishing the caller’s name) might suppress people’s desire to make a police report.”
In recent months, someone who regularly read the police dispatch log heavily featured one caller to 911 several times in an online blog, Kletzok said. Incidents such as this prompted members of the public to call the police and express their fear of retaliation.
Dispatchers enclosed confidential information in brackets, which did not appear in the online dispatch log. However, the margin of error was high because dispatchers hand-bracketed each log as the caller relayed information to them, Kletzok said, so information such as social security numbers, information on juvenile offenders and medical information could accidentally appear to the public.
The public can still find descriptions of incidents by going to the lobby of police records at EPD headquarters at 777 Pearl Street.
Requiring the public to go into the office is safer than publishing the comments online, Kletzok said.
“It takes a lot more effort to walk into a police station to look at a log,” she said.
Changes to the dispatch log went into effect Friday.
The online log will still include the incident and call type, the address, the date and time, the responding officer’s badge number, the location and the incident number.