FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Louise K. Czar,
against Docket #FIC 93-318
Henry A. Starkel, Chief of Police, Eastern Connecticut State
University Police Department,
Respondent June 22, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 10, 1994, 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 dated November 22, 1993 and filed with the Commission on November 23, 1993 the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying her prompt access to inspect the respondent's police department logs for September and October 1992 and police incident reports numbers 92-0895 and 92-0913 (hereinafter "requested records"), and by requiring that she put her request for access to inspect such records in writing.
3. The complainant requested that the Commission issue civil penalties against the respondent.
4. It is found that on November 18, 1993, the complainant visited the respondent's office and requested access to inspect the requested records.
5. It is found that on November 18, 1993, the respondent offered to provide the complainant with access to inspect the requested logs, but denied the complainant access to inspect the unredacted incident reports. At that time, the respondent also asked the complainant that she put her request for access to inspect the requested records in writing.
Docket #FIC 93-318 Page 2
6. Section 1-19(a), G.S., provides in pertinent part:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.
7. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
8. The respondent contends that disclosure of the unredacted incident reports would violate 1-19(b)(2) and 1-19(b)(11), G.S., and further, that disclosure of the logs may violate 54-142a, G.S.
9. Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., exempts from disclosure "personnel or medical files and similiar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."
10. Section 54-142a, G.S., sets out certain requirements with respect to the erasure of criminal records.
11. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that any of the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2) and 54-142a, G.S.
12. Section 1-19(b)(11), G.S., provides that nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require the disclosure of "(11) names and addresses of students enrolled in any public school or college without the consent of each student whose name or address is to be disclosed who is eighteen years of age or older and a parent or guardian of each such student who is younger than eighteen years of age...."
13. It is found that the unredacted incident reports at issue contain information concerning students, exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(11), G.S.
14. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate the complainant's rights by denying her access to inspect the unredacted incident reports.
Docket #FIC 93-318 Page 3
15. With respect to the allegation that the respondent required that the complainant put her request for access to inspect records in writing, it is concluded that nothing in the FOI Act requires that a request to inspect records be put in writing.
16. It is therefore concluded that the respondent violated 1-19(a), G.S., by requiring that the complainant put her request for access to inspect records in writing.
17. The Commission in its discretion declines to issue civil penalties against the respondent.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed with respect to the allegations concerning denial of access on November 18, 1993 to inspect records of logs and unredacted incident reports.
2. With respect to the allegation that the respondent required that the complainant put her request for access to inspect records in writing, the respondent shall henceforth strictly comply with the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of June 22, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 93-318 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:
Louise K. Czar
P.O. Box 3062
Waterbury, CT 06705
Henry A. Starkel, Chief of Police, Eastern Connecticut State University Police Department
c/o Ralph E. Urban, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission