FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Edward A. Peruta,
against Docket #FIC 89-120
State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police and its Commanding Officer; and Reports and Records Division, State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police and its Commanding Officer,
Respondents February 14, 1990
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 29, 1989, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 and conclusions of law are reached:
1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint dated April 5, 1989 and filed with the Commission on April 10, 1989, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents:
a. denied his requests for access to certain records;
b. required specific information about the records as a condition of access;
c. referred requests for records made at troop barracks to the records center in Meriden;
d. required separate written requests for each record;
e. limited requests to five per day; and
f. required six weeks to provide records requested by mail.
Docket #FIC 89-120 Page 2
3. It is found that on April 3, 1989 the complainant visited Troop "H" State Police Barracks in Hartford and requested access to certain motor vehicle accident reports maintained there by the respondents.
4. It is found that Troop "H" personnel denied the complainant's request, and instructed him that the requested records were available for inspection only at the Reports and Records Division in Meriden (the "Records Division").
5. It is found that it is the policy and practice of the respondents to deny all requests for records made at individual State Police Barracks and to require that all such requests be made at the Records Division in Meriden.
6. It is also found that, although the originals of the requested accident reports had been transmitted from Troop "H" to the Records Division, copies of those records were retained for administrative purposes at Troop "H".
7. It is concluded that the copies of the requested motor vehicle accident reports maintained at Troop "H" are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
8. It is concluded therefore that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide access to public records upon request.
9. It is found that the complainant also sought to obtain access to the requested motor vehicle accident reports, together with copies of any written requests for such accident reports received by the respondents, at the Records Center on or about April 4, 1989.
10. It is found that the complainant identified the requested reports by the date and location of the accident.
11. It is found that the complainant was instead required to identify the requested reports by either the name of a party involved in each accident or the case number of each accident, in order to obtain access to the requested accident reports.
12. It is also found that the respondents advised the complainant to obtain the additional identifying information by contacting the particular troop barracks that generated the reports.
13. It is found that the respondents index their files at the Records Center by case numbers and names of parties to the accident, and not by the time or location of the accident.
Docket #FIC 89-120 Page 3
14. It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate 1-19(a), G.S., by requiring the complainant to provide identifying information in the form of the name of an involved party or case number when requesting accident reports at the Records Center.
15. It is found that the respondents required the complainant to submit a written request for each record to which he sought access.
16. It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., by requiring a written request to inspect a public record.
17. It is found that the respondents initially denied the complainant's request for copies of other requests for the accident reports sought by the complainant.
18. It is concluded that the records described in paragraph 17, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.
19. It is found that the respondents provided the complainant with copies of the records described in paragraph 17, above approximately one to two months after the complainant's request.
20. It is concluded that the respondents violated 1-19(a), G.S., by failing to provide promptly upon request copies of the records described in paragraph 17, above.
21. It is found that the respondents limited the complainant to five "walk-in" requests on the date of his request.
22. It is found that the respondents by policy limit all requesters to five "walk-in" requests per day so as to provide equal and fair access to records in the face of a high volume of requests and a substantial backlog of written requests.
22. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate 1-19(a), G.S., by limiting the complainant to five "walk-in" requests per day.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
Docket #FIC 89-120 Page 4
1. The respondents henceforth shall act in strict compliance with 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 14, 1990.
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 89-120 Page 5
PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
EDWARD A. PERUTA
P.O. Box 307
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION OF STATE POLICE AND ITS COMMANDING OFFICER; AND REPORTS AND RECORDS DIVISION, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION OF STATE POLICE AND ITS COMMANDING OFFICER
c/o Robert F. Vacchelli, Esquire
Margaret Quilter Chapple, Esquire
Assistant Attorneys General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Tina C. Frappier
Acting Clerk of the Commission