Sunday, July 14, 2024

Are Police Officers Names Public Record

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What Type Of Records Can I Now Get Access To

Cops Get Educated on Public Records Law

SB 1421 gives the public the right to access three categories of records related to investigation and discipline of peace officers:

  • Records related to any incident where a law enforcement officer fired a gun at a person , or used force that resulted in serious injury or death. You can get these records whether the department found the officer acted properly or not.1
  • Records related to incidents where the agency found that an officer committed sexual assault against a member of the publicwhich includes attempts to coerce sex or proposition sex while on duty.2
  • Records related to incidents where the agency found that an officer engaged in dishonesty in the investigation, reporting, or prosecution of crime or police misconduct. This kind of dishonesty could include filing a false report, testifying untruthfully, or planting evidence.3

You are entitled to any documents still in an agency’s possession, no matter how old they are.

Police Reports On Incidents And Arrests

From pulling someone over for a broken taillight to a report of an assault, the job of policing relies on a large amount of paperwork.

The police will sometimes say, We will give you an incident report. Most incident reports are two pages, Tadych said.

However, if there is an ongoing criminal investigation, police sometimes will not release the entire report, especially the narrative, or description, of what happened.

That information, even if in a protected report, remains public, state law says. Sometimes that means asking precisely for the public information rather than a records request. That information includes:

  • The time, date, location and nature of the apparent violation reported to a public law enforcement agency.
  • Information about the person charged or indicted.
  • Why and where the person was arrested, including whether the person resisted police, possessed or used weapons, and a description of anything seized related to the arrest.

The biggest fight is the narrative in the incident report is often withheld, Tadych said. They basically will say the front page gives you all of that information.

But the narrative will explain exactly what happened, according to the officer who wrote the report, he said.

While some agencies resist releasing narratives, oftentimes departments will release reports in full.

What Type Of Documents Will The Agency Produce

The term “record” should include all documents related to the incident, including any reports created by the agency, the records of its investigations, photographic and video evidence, and the agency’s disciplinary decisions.6 If you are only interested in certain types of recordslike a disciplinary decision or an autopsy report you can request the specific type of record you want, and that may actually help you get a response to your request more quickly. Agencies also have an obligation to work with you to identify the documents that are responsive to your request.7

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Exemptions From Ontarios Police Record Check Reform Act

Certain police record checks have been exempted from the Police Record Checks Reform Act, or parts of the act. A full list of exemptions are outlined in legislation and regulation. Examples of police record check exemptions include, but is not limited to, certain situations such as:

  • applying for child custody or adoptions
  • providing residential care or foster care for children and youth
  • applying for a legal name change
  • requirements for a firearms license application
  • screening for certain roles and purposes in the education, early years, child care, and justice sectors, and in relation to certain roles within the Ontario Public Service
  • screening for certain roles in electricity generation facilities
  • certain contexts related to securities markets

Learn As Much As You Can About The Database

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Its always a good idea to learn as much as you can about the database before making your request.

  • Before filing a request, check your citys open data portal, or the Police Data Initiative if youre compiling data from multiple agencies. You may find the information you need is already online.
  • Incident reports and other types of forms, and public access sites for things like court records or inmate locations, are usually generated by a database. Therefore, each piece of information separated by a header should correspond to a separate field in the underlying database.
  • Patrol guides and other employee training manuals, like this Report Writing Manual from the Bakersfield Police Department, often include very specific instructions for data entry, including field names, code definitions, and screenshots of the various steps in the data entry process.
  • The databases documentation gives the most detailed breakdown of the database, such as the user guide, data dictionary, record layout, entity relationship diagram, and a glossary of terms. Sometimes it helps to attach examples of each, because most people arent familiar with these types of records.

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Whats Available Online Sample Incident Logs

Some police departments put their incident or report logs online.

Here are some examples:

To see San Francisco Bay Area traffic incidents, click on the Communication Centers drop-down menu at the top left and select Golden Gate. To decipher abbreviations used in the incident logs, in the drop-down menu under Resources in the upper right select Glossary.

Berkeley Police Department

Posted daily in pdf format.

Posted daily in pdf format.

Palo Alto Police Department

Posted daily in pdf format.

Davis Police Department

Combines log of arrests and incident log.

The California Public Records Act And Arrest Reports

The California Public Records Act allows individuals to obtain certain information from police records. Unfortunately, some law enforcement agencies refuse to comply with public records laws. Find some information below that may help you obtain information from an arrest report or incident report via a public records request under the CPRA.The law is clear: while actual copies of law enforcement investigatory records may be exempt from disclosure, certain information contained within those records must be disclosed upon request. That information includes factual circumstances concerning an arrest, including the name and description of the arrestee and charges associated with the arrest, and factual circumstances concerning “complaints or requests for assistance” including a description of what crimes were alleged and whether any weapons, property, or injuries were involved. See Cal. Gov’t Code §6254-. Courts, too, have recognized this right. The California Fourth District Court of Appeals stated:

“In construing a disclosure request, the policy of the PRA requires the courts to consider the information that is being requested, not only the precise type of records that must be provided. For example, an agency may be required to produce the ‘substance’ of complaints and the ‘factual circumstances surrounding the crime or incident’ even if a requested arrest record is exempt from disclosure.” 220 Cal.App.4th 1385 citing Haynie v. Superior Court 26 Cal.4th 1061.)

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How Do I Submit A Request For Information

To submit a request send the request via mail, fax, or email to the agency. Some agencies list specific departments or people whose job it is to respond to PRA requests, so check their websites or call them for further info. Always keep a copy of your request so that you can show what you submitted and when.

Templates for Sample Requests

Incident Based Request: Use this template if you want records related to a particular incident, like the investigative record for a specific police shooting, an arrest where you believe an officer may have been found to have filed a false report, or to find out whether complaint that an officer committed sexual assault was sustained.

The First Amendment Coalition also has some useful information to help explain the PRA process.

What Type Of Information And Data Is Contained In A Police Report

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The following are types of data and information that may be included in a police report. Please note that there is no universal police report. Information will vary from department to department.

  • Identifying information for all parties involved in the incident, including full name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security numbers, driver license numbers
  • Date of the occurrence or incident
  • Location of the occurrence or incident
  • The officers name and ID number
  • The names of other officers who were present
  • Diagrams or drawings of the scene
  • The names of witnesses and their statements
  • Reference number

The law enforcement case file may also contain motor vehicle information, as well as specific details of the incident and any evidence associated with the case.

Examples of police reports may include but are not limited to domestic disputes, traffic accidents, thefts, fraud, assault, burglaries, and stalking incidents. Other information that may be available includes crime surveys, crime statistics, calls for service, weather information, and traffic accident surveys.

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Names Of Police Subject To Internal Affairs Complaints Are Public Records Judge Rules

State Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne

State Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne in Bergen County ruled Thursday the names of police officers who are subject to internal affairs complaints cannot be withheld under the Open Public Records Act.

TRENTON The names of police officers who are subject to an internal affairs complaint, as well as the names of complainants, cannot be shielded from the public under the state Open Public Records Law, a state judge has ruled.

In the decision, handed down Thursday, state Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne in Bergen County found the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office wrongly redacted the information in records provided to John Paff, a self-proclaimed open government activist.

Doyne rejected arguments raised by the county that the information must be kept confidential under internal affairs guidelines established by the state Attorney General’s Office, finding that those guidelines have no bearing on the public records law.

“Although the Legislature has decided certain classes of information are not subject to OPRA, the statute does not create a specific exemption for guidelines issued by the attorney general,” the judge wrote. “Moreover, defendants have not cited any binding authority for the position the AG guidelines, particularly as they pertain to records of internal affairs, are exempt from disclosure.”

The judge ordered the county to produce the un-redacted records.

Does It Cost Money To Make A Request

An agency is only allowed to charge for the “direct costs” of duplicating the records, or the cost to create certain documents if you are asking it to create a document like a list that it does not already have.8 You should always ask the agency to waive costs in your initial request, but they are not required to do so. You also have the option to inspect the records by looking at them at the agency during its regular business hours, which you can do for free. You can always inspect documents for free, and then request copying only of those that you want.

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The Records And How To Search For Them

The National Archives has administrative records relating to the Railway and Transport Police, but not records relating to its investigation of crime. To access the records held here you will either need to visit us, pay for research or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy .

Among the records that we hold are the following :

  • Corresponence and other records relating to railways staff conferences, covering topics which include pay and conditions, in RAIL 1172
  • Personnel department records of the British Transport Commission and British Railways Board, 1928-1994, in AN 174 including records of pay, conditions and training
  • Administration records of the Railway Executive Committee which governed the railways during the Second World War in AN 2 and AN 3

Use the advanced search option in our catalogue to limit your search to records with department references RAIL and/or AN. Generally, records from before 1921 have the departmental reference RAIL and those from after 1921 have the reference AN. Search with key words which might include:

  • railway police
  • transport police
  • the name of one of the railway companies listed above and the word police

The British Transport Police hold records on its officers and staff. You can request information from the British Transport Police historical group. The organisation holds several thousand staff record cards dating back to the 1860s.

Law Enforcement Agencies Of Illinois

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  • Chicago District of the Illinois State Police
  • Illinois Secretary of State Police
  • Department of Investigations of the Illinois Attorney General Office
  • Illinois Fire Marshal Arson Investigators
  • Illinois Department of Revenue Investigators

Local police agencies include those associated with colleges and universities, hospitals, and Cook County, including the following below.

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How To Get A Police Report

By law, certain police records and violation reports prepared and maintained by the Police Department are accessible to the general public.

If you need to get a copy of a police report, do this. First, begin by researching the requirements of the police department responsible for the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred. Then, follow the departments exact protocol for requesting and receiving those records. Start by checking the police departments website. Expand your search to the city website if you dont find anything on the police departments website.

Obtain and Fill Out Request Forms

Some departments may require that you complete a request form, sometimes called a request for public records. This may also be known as a request for open records. When you check the department website, look to see if you can download the request form from their site. If so, fill out the request form and submit it according to the directions.

Most request forms will require you to provide the first and last name of at least one of the involved parties. In addition, youll need the location, date, and time of the incident, and in some cases, the incident or case number.

Submitting the Request Form

Important Notes Regarding Submitting Requests for Police Reports

  • It may take a few days or more to obtain the official documents
  • Charges for obtaining copies of the documents may vary by city or jurisdiction
  • Very few departments allow access to records online

New York Makes Complaint Records Of 83000 Police Officers Available To Public

Files made public as part of a national push for greater police transparency following the death of George Floyd

The complaint records of 83,000 active and former New York City police officers have been added to a searchable public database justice advocates hope will help citizens and activists identify problem officers and trends in police abuse.

The records were made public as part of a national push for greater police transparency following the death of George Floyd, an African American man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis last year.

One month after Floyds death, New York lawmakers repealed a shield law protecting police records. Federal courts rejected efforts by police unions to keep the records secret.

This month, in a move first reported by Insider, the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board made available online a database of hundreds of complaints against tens of thousands of current and former officers.

The database is searchable by precinct, name, rank, shield number or by number of substantiated complaints.

Only complaints handled by the complaint review board appear in the database, the board advises.

The civilian board can recommend disciplinary action to answer substantiated complaints, but discretion over disciplinary decisions lies with the police commissioner.

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Chicago Local Police Agencies

  • John Stroger Hospital of Cook County Police
  • University of Chicago Police Department
  • Northwestern University Police Department

Chicago university police departments routinely patrol the streets adjacent to the campus, so it is not unusual for a police officer employed by a university to make an arrest, assist an accident victim or respond to a call for assistance off school property.

The vast number of law enforcement agencies operating within Chicago poses a challenge for anyone in need of obtaining Chicago police records. Your search will be made easier if you first identify the agency most likely to have possession of the records you need. For example, an arrest occurring on a street in downtown Chicago might not result in arrest records held by the Chicago Police Department if the arrest was made by members of the Illinois State Police.

Police Dashcam And Body Camera Footage

Public Records at Police Departments

State law says law enforcement video recordings are not public records. However, that doesnt mean you cant ever get them.

To get a copy of a recording, Tadych said, people need to fill out a form with the Administrative Offices of the Court and file it in Superior Court. Once the requester petitions a judge for its release, the judge will review it privately. In addition, everyone who is in the video will have an opportunity to tell the court why the video should not be released.

There have been times where individual police officers have said they dont want this released, and the situation has been so egregious and receiving so much attention, and the judge releases it, Tadych said.

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Complying With Emergency Orders

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act , there are consequences for businesses and individuals who choose to defy the Act while emergency orders are in force. The OPP encourages everyone to voluntarily comply with all of these short-term restrictions.

If you wish to file a report regarding non-compliance under the Quarantine Act, call 1 888 310-1122 or your .

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