The state of Oklahoma has collected at least $65 million in the past five years by selling personal information from motor vehicle records, according to newspaper reports. Among the biggest buyers are clearinghouses that sell the information to insurance companies and corporations. The Associated Press reported that a copyrighted story published by The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World, states the records are bought online for $12.50 each, with $10 going to the state and a $2.50 processing fee going to the company that operates the state’s Web site. What a state can or cannot do with information obtained through motor vehicle records is governed by the federal Driver’s Privacy and Protection Act, which was enacted in 1994.
Former Jacksonville, Ark., police officer John Forte was awarded $13,156 in a disputed workers’ compensation claim over post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is believed to be the first time an Arkansas law officer has won such a claim when there was no physical injury involved. The 44-year-old Forte was diagnosed with PTSD after an Aug. 25, 2008, shootout in which another officer was wounded and the gunman was killed. The Arkansas Municipal League fought the claim. League attorneys argued that Forte was not physically injured or the victim of a violent crime as is required by state law in mental injury cases. AP
A $1.1 million federal grant awarded to the Shreveport (Louisiana) Fire Department could result in as many as 15 new front-line firefighters being hired in September. Fire Chief Brian Crawford announced that the grant is expected to result in 12 of the city’s busiest fire trucks, on average, to be staffed with a fourth firefighter. The Times reported that increasing the number of firefighters from three to four per engine company, results in the company being 14 percent more effective and efficient. AP
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