In the Matter of a Complaint by                        FINAL DECISION


Stephen J. Link,




            against              Docket #FIC 88-135


Chief, Easton Police Department,


                        Respondent                  March 22, 1989


            The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 9 and 23, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The case was consolidated with Docket #FIC 88-102 for hearing.


            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.  By mailgram filed with the Commission on April 11, 1988, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging the denial of a request for public records.


            3.  It is found that by mailgram dated November 9, 1987, the complainant informed the respondent of his disappointment in the respondent's handling of a particular investigation.


            4.  It is found that with this mailgram the complainant believed he was filing a complaint against the respondent.


            5.  It is found that by letter dated March 25, 1988, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of:


            a.         the police department log showing the time and date his complaint was officially received;


            b.         a letter of acknowledgement of the complaint; and


            c.         a letter from the respondent to the Easton police commission referring to his complaint with specificity.


Docket #FIC 88-135                           Page Two


            6.  It is found that by letter dated March 30, 1988, the respondent informed the complainant that the November 8, 1987, mailgram had been identified as general correspondence, not a complaint being formally filed, and that it had been forwarded to the board of police commissioners.  Enclosed with his letter the respondent included a form for filing a complaint.


            7.  It is found that the respondent sent this response to the complainant within four business days of receipt of the complainant's March 25, 1988 request, as required by 1-21i, G.S.


            8.  It is found that receipt of the mailgram was not recorded in the police department's log and that, therefore, no record meeting the description in paragraph 5a, above, exists.


            9.  It is further found that the respondent had no records meeting the description in paragraphs 5b and c, above, at the time of the complainant's request.


            10.  Thus, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate any provision of the Freedom of Information Act with regards to the complainant's request of March 25, 1988.


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


            1.  The complaint is hereby dismissed.


            2.  The Commission notes that while legally this case and Docket #FIC 88-102 are separate matters, in practical terms they were both part of a confusing situation that might have been prevented had the respondent, the board of police commissioners and the Easton first selectman made greater efforts to communicate with each other and clarify procedures for the complainant.


            Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 22, 1989.



                                    Karen J. Haggett

                                    Clerk of the Commission