FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Walter P. Doolittle,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 87-384

 

State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police, Reports and Records Division and Division of State Police, Montville Barracks,

 

Respondents May 11, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 17, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. On or about July 15, 1987 the complainant filed a complaint with the respondent state police alleging that Mr. Calvin Mellor had impersonated a state police officer while serving him with a tax warrant.

 

3. Mr. Mellor was, in fact, a special agent serving the State of Connecticut department of revenue services and the complainant's complaint was determined to be groundless.

 

4. On or about September 1, 1987, Sgt. Eugene Sullivan, an employee of the respondent state police, completed his investigative report concerning the complainant's complaint and gave such report to his immediate supervisor. On or about September 2, 1987 a notation concerning the completion of the report was entered into the computer system used by the respondents for record keeping.

 

5. On or about November 11, 1987 the complainant made a request of the respondent state police for a copy of the investigative report referred to at paragraph 4, above.

 

6.     On or about December 12, 1987 the complainant was informed by an employee of the respondent state police at the

 

Docket #FIC 87-384 Page Two

 

Montville barracks that the report, identified by file #E-87-249094, was available at the state police reports and records division in Meriden. Upon inquiry in Meriden, an employee of the reports and records division informed the complainant that, contrary to what he had been told, the report was available at the Montville barracks.

 

7. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on December 22, 1987 the complainant alleged he had been denied access to the requested report.

 

8. It is found that the original report concerning the complainant's complaint to the state police, completed on or about September 1, 1987, has been misplaced and cannot be located.

 

9. It is found that upon learning that the original report was lost, Sgt. Sullivan recreated the report to the best of his ability. Such substitute report was completed on or about December 17, 1987 and was provided to the complainant on or about January 5, 1988.

 

10. The complainant claims that the respondents violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S. when they denied him access to the report completed on or about September 1, 1987 by Sgt. Sullivan.

 

11. It is found that the respondents cannot account for the disappearance of the hard copy of the original investigative report.

 

12. It is found, however, that the respondents have conducted a diligent search for the original copy of Sgt. Sullivan's investigative report, and have recreated the document to the best of their abilities.

 

13. It is found that because the record in question either no longer existed or was irretrievably lost at the time of the complainant's request, the respondents did not deny the complainant access to such record within the meaning of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

 

1. The respondent is required to place a notice in the requested file No-E-87-249-094 that if the report is found it must be sent to the complainant.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 11, 1988.

 

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission