Judge rules BYU police subject to open records laws

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A Third District Court judge ruled in favor of the media Friday in a dispute between The Salt Lake Tribune and BYU’s University Police on whether the police department falls under the same open record laws as government entities do, according to Deseret News.

A judge ruled that BYU police are not exempt from Utah’s open record laws Friday, July 13.

Referring to a 2016 case between the Salt Lake Tribune and BYU’s police, the BYU police force argued that it is exempt from the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) because it is part of a private university.

The court concluded that because the BYU police act as a “full-spectrum” law enforcement, meaning officers can stop, search, arrest and use physical force against people, just as any other sworn officer in the state, it is a governmental entity and subject to GRAMA rules.

BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead responded Friday saying, “BYU respects the judicial process, but we’re disappointed by this preliminary decision. The court said in today’s minute entry that it expects to issue a detailed ruling and order in the next few days. BYU will wait until that order is issued to determine its next steps related to this decision and any other state records committee decisions.”

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