ST. PAUL (AP) -- Public access to about 275 St. Paul police reports was restricted by the department's `lockdown' policy from 2011 to 2018, which made the records invisible except to select police leaders and civilian supervisors.

Police say the policy was used at the discretion of commanders and high-ranking officers to protect sensitive cases from prying eyes.

Department spokesman Steve Linders says information from reports can jeopardize investigations.

Most cases have since been removed from the classification after a department review.

Opponents criticize the practice for its lack of oversight.

Governmental transparency advocate Don Gemberling says the policy doesn't include criteria for what qualifies a case for a lockdown and there's ``no clear lines of accountability.'' Gemberling questions how the public should know if the practice is being used appropriately.