MARLBOROUGH — Police are not releasing the name of a Keene man charged with dumping garbage off Old Dublin Road, despite such information being part of the public record.
Police announced Tuesday night on the Marlborough Police Department’s Facebook page that a suspect had been arrested and charged for the garbage illegally dumped in town.
The suspect, only identified as a 34-year-old Keene man, is charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful activities, part of the anti-littering law, according to Marlborough Police Sgt. Zachary Byam. The charge does not typically involve the threat of jail time, as the RSA states that the penalty for convictions should be for the guilty party to pick up litter.
When contacted Tuesday night, Byam stated he was unable to release the name of the suspect due to an order from the Marlborough Board of Selectmen, which now requires a Right-to-Know request be filed for all arrest records.
The Union Leader filed a Right-to-Know request with the department, and that request is pending.
Arrest records are normally considered part of the public record, and as such, arrest reports are made available for public inspection during normal business hours. Many departments make their full radio dispatch logs, including incident reports and arrest records, available for the public. Byam said the department does not keep a public arrest log.
It is unusual for a police department to require a Right-to-Know request for any arrest record in New Hampshire. The department was publishing the names of people arrested and charged in town as recently as July 4 on the Facebook page, but no names have been published by the department in August.
Town Administrator Ellen Smith did not comment and said she needed to confer with the board.
The littering case has already garnered attention in town, as members of the public helped police identify the suspect. Police were called to Old Dublin Road around 3 p.m. on Monday to find garbage and furniture dumped in the woods, according to Byam. The suspect was identified by Tuesday, thanks to tips from neighbors, Byam wrote.
“A subsequent investigation resulted in the identification of the person responsible within 24 hours of the incident by following up on critical observations made by astute residents of this neighborhood,” he wrote on Facebook.