FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Edward A. Peruta,
against Docket #FIC 94-9
Philip R. Dunn, Chief of Police, Rocky Hill Police Department,
Respondent July 27, 1994
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 18 and May 6, 1994, at which times the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
At the hearing, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local #316 (IBPO) was granted intervenor status in accordance with the provisions of 1-21j-28, G.S.
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 dated and filed with the Commission on January 7, 1994 and supplemented by letter dated January 7, 1994 and filed with the Commission on January 11, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him access to copies of written and videotaped records of an internal affairs investigation, conducted by the respondent into the alleged misconduct on the part of Joseph Corbin, an employee of the respondent. The complainant requested that the Commission issue civil penalties against the respondent.
3. It is found that prior to December 1, 1993 the complainant and the respondent had engaged in discussions concerning the complainant gaining access to copies of records of the investigation, described more fully in paragraph 2, above.
4. It is found that the respondent by letter dated December 1, 1993 informed the complainant that access to copies of the investigation records would be permitted after the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing scheduled for December 23,
Docket #FIC 94-9 Page 2
1993, which hearing concerned disciplinary action imposed upon Corbin.
5. It is found that the disciplinary hearing scheduled for December 23, 1993, was subsequently rescheduled for January 7, 1994, but was never held as a result of the town of Rocky Hill, the IBPO and Corbin signing an agreement to submit their dispute concerning the disciplinary action imposed upon Corbin to a neutral arbitrator for resolution, which arbitration proceedings are scheduled to be held in June, 1994.
6. It is found that the complainant having failed to gain access to the investigation records formally requested access to copies of the investigation records from the respondent on December 23, 1993.
7. It is found that on January 6, 1994 pursuant to 1-20a(b), G.S., Corbin objected to the disclosure of the requested records claiming that the records constitute personnel or medical and similiar files and their disclosure would invade his personal privacy.
8. It is found that the respondent denied the complainant's December 23, 1993 records request by letter dated January 7, 1994.
9. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.
10. It is found that on January 7, 1994 the IBPO filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the State Labor Board against the Town of Rocky Hill and the respondent's police department, which complaint is currently pending and concerns the disciplinary action imposed upon Corbin as a result of the investigation, described in paragraph 2, above.
11. The respondent contends that the requested records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), 1-19(b)(3) and 1-19(b)(4), G.S.
12. At the request of the Commission, the respondent submitted in camera a list summarizing the content of each record contained in the respondent's investigation file. The in camera list describes 28 records, each numbered 1 through 28. The respondent claims no exemption for 10 of these 28 records, and the 10 records are therefore not at issue as being disclosable. Of the 10 records for which no exemption is claimed, 6 were accepted by the Commission as exhibits at the hearing in this matter.
13. With respect to in camera documents #s 7 through 14, inclusive, and 16 through 24, inclusive, and 27, it is concluded that these records fall within the categories of records protected under the allowed exemptions of 1-19(b)(3) and
Docket # FIC 94-9 Page 3
14. However, it is concluded that the respondent failed to prove that the requested records constitute personnel, medical or similiar files within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S.
15. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate any of the complainant's rights when he denied the complainant access to the requested records pursuant to 1-19(b)(3) and 1-19(b)(4), G.S.
16. The complainant's request for civil penalties is therefore denied.
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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 27, 1994.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-9 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:
EDWARD A. PERUTA
38 Parish Road
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
PHILIP R. DUNN, CHIEF OF POLICE, ROCKY HILL POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o Alaric Fox, Esq.
Siegel, O'Connor, Schiff & Zangari, P.C.
370 Asylum Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Catherine Monschen, Esq.
346 Main Street
Cromwell, CT 06416
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission