Saturday, January 15, 2011

Register Citizen offers free class on Freedom of Information Act in Connecticut

The class will also be live-streamed on RegisterCitizen.Com, and participants watching on the website will have the opportunity to interact and ask questions via a live chat.


Saturday, January 15, 2011 [on line]
Sunday, January 16, 2011 [print]
  • Register Citizen

  • Staff

    TORRINGTON - A free three-week class on the Freedom of Information Act will be offered at The Register Citizen's new Community Journalism School next week, and it's not too late to sign up.

    Former Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission member Andy Thibault is teaching the class, which will also feature guest speakers including South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed, Freedom of Information Commission staff members and Jan Smolinski, who used the Freedom of Information Act to bring public attention to the infamous missing person-turned-homicide case of her son, Billy.

  • Jan Smolinski's Shocking Testimony Before Congress 1-21-10

  • Two sessions of the class will be offered - at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. - on three consecutive Wednesdays, January 19, 26 and Feb. 2. It is open to anyone, from journalists, to bloggers, to public officials and citizens who serve on local boards and commissions, to interested members of the public.


  • Topics will include "Who Owns Public Records?," "Cops and Courts," "School Systems," "Local and State Governments" and "Freedom of Information and Federal Government Records."

    The class will also be live-streamed on RegisterCitizen.Com, and participants watching on the website will have the opportunity to interact and ask questions via a live chat.

    Thibault, a former editor of The Register Citizen, is author of "Law and Justice in Everyday Life," wrote the award-winning "Cool Justice" column in the Connecticut Law Tribune from 2000 to 2006, and currently blogs on cops, courts, general news and the arts at

    Thibault served as a hearing officer and commissioner for the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission from 1995 to 1996. He was a member of the Litchfield Board of Education from 2000 to 2004.

    He chairs a nonprofit foundation, the Connecticut Young Writers Trust, that has given nearly $200,000 to teenage poets and writers since 1998, and his successful battle with colon cancer was the subject of a 2010 Connecticut Public Television special,

    Famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey once described Thibault as "a gunslinger form the Old West, ready to fire at anything that moves - especially if he doesn't take kindly to the movement ... He is in a way a corollary of Robin Hood; he takes from the powerful and gives to the weak."


    Matthew Reed was appointed AS South Windsor's police chief on May 16, 2010.

    Chief Reed, a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, served in the United States Army as a military police traffic accident investigator at Ft. Hood, Texas from 1983 until 1986.

    He was hired as a South Windsor police officer in 1987 and served in the patrol section as a patrol officer and supervisor. Chief Reed served as the department’s youth service officer from 1989-1991 and was responsible for the implementation of the DARE program at the Timothy Edwards Middle School. After his assignment as youth service officer, Chief Reed returned to the patrol section.

    In 1993 he was assigned to the department’s administrative services section where he was designated as the department’s public information officer. While assigned to administrative services, Reed worked as aide to the Chief of Police researching and writing department policies, conducting community outreach activities and managing the department’s information technology structure. Chief Reed served as the manager of the public information and technology section until his promotion to the rank of Commander in June, 2005.

    From June 2005 until his promotion to chief, Reed was assigned as commander of the Operations Division. As division commander he was responsible for the officers on patrol, the criminal investigations unit, the school resource officer program, the police canine program, the traffic safety enforcement and investigation unit, the community service officers and the special enforcement unit.

    Chief Reed holds an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT; a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT and a Juris Doctor from Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, MA. Chief Reed is a Connecticut attorney, an adjunct faculty member at Manchester Community College and a certified police instructor.

    Chief Reed lives in South Windsor with his wife and five children.

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