FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision
Edward M. Anderson,
against Docket #FIC 93-223
Commanding Officer, Troop B, Canaan, State of Connecticut
Department of Public Safety, Division of State Police,
Respondent January 26, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 8, 1993, 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint filed August 23, 1993, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that his request for records of certain 911 calls had not been complied with.
3. It is found that the complainant by letter dated July 27, 1993 requested a "copy of the full page of 911 calls for September 5, 1992" and "a copy of all calls recorded on the above date."
4. It is found that the respondent by letter dated August 10, 1993 indicated that the requested records had been purged as a normal course of business.
5. It is found that the respondent tape records 911 calls.
6. It is also found that the respondent maintains a computer log of 911 calls, which contains Automatic Locator Identifier ("ALI") and Automatic Number Identifier ("ANI") information.
7. It is concluded that the respondent's tape recorded and computer records of 911 calls are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 93-223 Page 2
8. It is found that the respondent's policy is to re-use the tapes on which 911 calls are recorded approximately every two months.
9. It is found that, before the complainant made his July 27, 1993 request, he was advised by an employee at Troop B that the records he was looking for would be purged after a year, and that he should therefore make his request for the September 1992 records promptly.
10. It is found that the respondent's policy is to purge its computer log of 911 calls every twelve months, but that the respondent's computer log for the time period requested by the complainant was actually purged after 60 days, pursuant to the respondent's customary practice at the time.
11. It is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-19(a), G.S., since the respondent did not maintain at the time of the request a copy of the records requested by the complainant.
12. The Commission notes that although the respondent did not technically violate 1-19(a), the respondent, contrary to its own policy, improperly disposed of the computer records, and thus denied the complainant the opportunity promptly to review the information he sought.
13. It is found that the respondent, after the filing of the complaint in this matter, conducted a further search for the requested records, and obtained a copy of the computer log record from the Litchfield dispatching agency.
14. At the hearing on this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with a paper copy of the computer log record, which is the same as the record purged by the respondent.
15. The Commission appreciates the efforts of the respondent ultimately to provide information to the complainant, but notes that improper purging of records and consequent delays in obtaining substitute copies only serve to foster distrust of government agencies created to serve and protect the public.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
Docket #FIC 93-223 Page 3
1. The complaint is dismissed.
2. The respondent is strongly urged to take great care to maintain records for the period of time dictated by its own policies. In this regard, the respondent also is advised to consult with the state records administrator to ensure that the respondent's retention policies concerning ALI and ANI records, and tape recordings of 911 calls, comply with the applicable state retention schedules.
3. Nothing in this decision shall be construed as deciding whether the Litchfield dispatcher from which the respondent ultimately obtained the record provided to the complainant is a public or private agency.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of January 26, 1994.
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-223 Page 4
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:
Mr. Edward M. Anderson
RR 2, Box 27
Millbrook, NY 12545
Commanding Officer, Troop B, Canaan,
State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety,
Division of State Police,
c/o Margaret Quilter Chapple, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission