FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 86-119
Hartford Police Department,
Respondent June 11, 1986
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 22, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:
1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. On February 11, 1986 the complainant filed four citizen complaints with the respondent, alleging police misconduct.
3. The complainant's complaints were subsequently investigated and the results were documented and presented in a report to the Investigative Review Board, an agency of the City of Hartford which reviews the determinations of the Internal Affairs Division of the respondent.
4. The Investigative Review Board scheduled a hearing on the report, which hearing was attended by the complainant. The board members had before them the investigative file and report.
5. At the hearing before the Investigative Review Board the complainant, who believed that the report contained facts contrary to those alleged in his complaints, made a request of the board to examine the report, which request was denied. By letter dated April 7, 1986 the deputy chief of the respondent informed the complainant that it was the City of Hartford's position that the requested investigative files were exempt from disclosure.
Docket #FIC 86-119 Page Two
6. By letter dated May 5, 1986 the complainant appealed the denial of his request for records.
7. The respondent claims that the requested files are exempted from disclosure by 1-19(b)(2).
8. The respondent also claims that the requested files are "personnel files" within the meaning of 31-128a(3), G.S. and that disclosure of such files is restricted by 31-128(f), G.S.
9. It is found that the documents and reports in question were used by the Investigative Review Board to determine whether disciplinary action against a police officer was necessary.
10. It is further found that the records in question serve a function which is distinct from the recording of data for personnel or similar purposes. Such records constitute records of non-criminal, police internal affairs investigations and relate directly to the conduct of the public's business.
11. It is further found that there is a legitimate public interest in both allegations of misconduct by police officers and in the treatment and ultimate disposition of such allegations by the Internal Affairs Division of the respondent.
12. It is concluded that disclosure of the records in question would not constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
13. It is further found that Chapter 563a of the General Statutes governs disclosure of personnel records by private entities, not by public agencies, and that 31-128a(3) and 31-128(f), G.S. are therefore not applicable to the records in question.
14. The respondent failed to prove that the requested records are exempted from disclosure by any other state statute or federal law.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainant with access to inspect or copy the investigative file and reports regarding the four complaints filed by him on February 11, 1986.
Docket #FIC86-119 page 3
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 11, 1986.
Karen J. Haggett
Clerk of the Commission