Bloomington City Council chooses transparency in off-duty police officer accident

By Marshanna Hester

June 24, 2013 Updated Jun 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- The city of Bloomington will release all of the documents surrounding the accident of an off-duty Bloomington police officer.

Last October, Assistant Police Chief Bob Wall admitted he struck a light pole with his car on Ireland Grove Road.

He passed a field sobriety test and was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and improper lane usage.

The city of Bloomington denied a Freedom of Information Act request by media for the accident records but in an appeal, the Attorney General's Office ruled against the city.

There was consideration by the city attorney to appeal the decision, but Monday night, the council voted unanimously not to do so.

"Now let me make it clear, I was not mayor when that happened. I did run on open government and transparency and I mean it and so I think this is a victory," said Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner. "I'm glad we lost. We should never have spent thousands of dollars fighting open government. That era is over."

At Monday night's meeting, the council also voted to enact a new dangerous dog ordinance. It requires owners of dogs with a history of violent behavior to have liability insurance.

Alderman Judy Stearns was the one dissenting vote.

"We're designating dogs as dangerous or vicious without any kind of formal appeals process and this conflicts with the state of Illinois statute," she said. "I feel that whether a home rule community or not, we should conform at the very least to the state of Illinois constitution and to their statute."

The council says the change is not because of one incident.

Last year, there were 96 victims of dog attacks.