Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Cedar Point Balking at Newspaper Request for Police Reports From Its Private Park Force Despite Legal Precedent

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2021 at 4:12 PM

click to enlarge Top Thrill Dragster - JEREMY THOMPSON/FLICKRCC
  • Jeremy Thompson/FlickrCC
  • Top Thrill Dragster

Among Cedar Point's many thousands of employees are a certain number of Cedar Point police officers that staff its private department.

The exact number is unclear, because the famously secretive park refuses to disclose it.

It's now also refusing to abide by the state of Ohio's public records act, according to the Sandusky Register, which has sought daily police and crime reports from the park, including with regards to the Top Thrill Dragster accident that has left a Michigan woman fighting for her life with a brain injury.

Though it operates a private police force, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that records from private forces are subject to the same public records laws as any other law enforcement department.

“Like other law enforcement agencies, it clearly meets the definitions of a public office, the functional equivalent of a public office, and an institutional person responsible for public records, any one of which renders its law enforcement records subject to the requirements of the Public Records Act,” then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wrote in a friends of the court brief that year for the case involving a university's police force. “This status is clear, and the consequences of any Ohio police department operating to the contrary are serious and potentially irreparable.”

Cedar Point's force, some members of which carry guns, can carry out arrests for low-level offenses and have dealt with incidents and crimes in the park that were not attended to by Sandusky police.

As the Register sought information recently — data and reports Cedar Point is obligated to maintain and turn over —  it received this response from the park:

"If you would provide the (Sandusky) Register’s legal counsel’s contact information, I can connect them with our legal team for further clarification," park spokesman Tony Clark wrote the Register.
Details on the Top Thrill Dragster investigation were released last week not by the park but by the state of Ohio.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation