The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has revealed yet another way some folks can be removed from the daily arrest log. A department policy that removes the name of some county employees from this log also includes people engaged to or “in a relationship” with those employees, according to a sheriff’s spokesman.
A former firefighter’s name was recently removed from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office arrest log, the “Daily Bulletin.” The same woman was arrested for battery in 2018 and that arrest was also granted an exemption.
The battery charge was later dropped, according to the Clay County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office.
The Daily Bulletin shows a running list of arrests that have occurred each day in Clay County. Some names, however, don’t appear on the online arrest log – or mugshots on the inmate list – due to how the sheriff’s office interprets the state’s Sunshine law.
If certain county employees are arrested, they can sign an exemption form (referred to as a “C163 form”) and their name won’t appear on the arrest log. This is what allowed former St. Johns County firefighter, Lauren Adams, to have her name removed after a recent accident where she was allegedly driving while intoxicated and attempted to leave the scene.
Click here to learn more about this incident.
A sheriff’s office spokesman said that even former employees who resign or retire retain the exemption option, as well as any person with a similar position from out-of-county.
Employees granted these exemptions include designated personnel such as law enforcement officers, corrections officers, civilian employees of law enforcement agencies, firefighters, judges and other county and law enforcement-related positions.
Previously, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office told NewsBreak that the exemption can also apply to these employee’s spouses and immediate family members if they get arrested. The sheriff’s office spokesman said the goal of extending these rights to immediate family members is to protect the county employee from having their address available to the general public.
It should be noted that the home address of arrested individuals is not listed on the sheriff’s office daily bulletin—only the address where the arrest occurred. Home addresses are occasionally listed in arrest reports accessed by the news media to report on crime in the county.
The sheriff’s office did not originally include people who are engaged to, have a child with or “in a relationship with” these employees when NewsBreak first discovered the exemption policy.
While reporting on Adam’s recent arrest, a NewsBreak reporter discovered she was also arrested in Sept. 2018 for battery. At this time she was not employed by the St. Johns Fire Department, yet, her name was still removed from the Daily Bulletin.
When asked why, a sheriff’s office spokesman said that this exemption also applies to individuals engaged to the above-mentioned employees and/or anyone who has a child with those employees, saying they are “basically in a relationship.”
“If she lived with him and is claiming the title of ‘fiance,’ then she has the exemption,” the spokesman said. “We can only go off good faith that they are engaged and that we need to protect the home address of that individual.”
When asked if this exemption applies to roommates of certain county employees, the spokesman said “no” and that they “do verify” this information.
Adams was arrested Sept. 2, 2018, and according to her C163 form was engaged to a Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy at the time.
On her form from the night of the arrest, Adams wrote that she was “engaged to” and “lives with” this man, according to the C163 form. In other words, using his job privilege and protection to remove her name from the arrest log.
The sheriff’s office spokesman said he does not know if Adams was ever engaged or married to the man whose name she wrote down.
The man whose name she wrote down no longer works for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and could not be immediately reached for comment.
Adams is referring all questions to her lawyer. Her lawyer could not be reached for immediate comment.
Click here to read NewsBreak’s initial coverage about Clay County’s exemption forms.