FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Walter J. Smykla,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 1995-414

 

Daniel J. Coppinger, Chief of

Police, Plainville Police Department,

 

Respondent July 24, 1996

 

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 2, 1996, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared 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 with this Commission on December 18, 1995, the complainant alleged that the respondent violated the provisions of the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act by denying him copies of the following records:

 

a) an unedited tape of the Plainville police dispatcher and the complainant;

 

b) the tape made from the Plainville department radio communications tape between all cars and beat units on Saturday October 21, 1995; and,

 

c) all reports made by any Plainville police department employee with case number 95-8035.

 

3. The records identified in paragraph 2(a)-(c), above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

Docket #FIC 1995-414 Page 2

 

 

4. It is found that on November 15 and November 17, 1995, the complainant made written requests for copies of the records identified in paragraph 2, above, of the respondent.

 

5. It is also found that by letter dated November 20, 1995, the respondent denied the complainant's requests "due to the pending criminal case involving (his) arrest for threatening."

 

6. The respondent claims that 1-20b(b), G.S., exempts the requested records from disclosure.

 

7. Section 1-20b(b), G.S., provides in pertinent part that:

 

"record of the arrest" means (1) the name and address of the person arrested, the date, time and place of the arrest and the offense for which the person was arrested, and (2) at least one of the following, designated by the law enforcement agency: the arrest report, incident report, news release."

 

8. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15 and 1-20b(b), G.S., by failing to provide to the complainant any record of arrest or other reports as identified in paragraph 2c), above.

 

9. It is found that the tapes identified in paragraphs 2a) and b), above, were made in the routine course of the police department's business.

 

10. It is concluded that the tapes at issue are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(3), G.S.

 

11. At the hearing into this matter, the respondent claimed that the complainant should be made to seek the records at issue through his attorney pursuant to discovery proceedings in Superior Court.

 

12. It is found that the complainant did not seek the records at issue through discovery proceedings.

 

13. It is concluded that no provision of the FOI Act requires the complainant to seek the records at issue through discovery proceedings in Superior Court.

 

 

 

Docket #FIC 1995-414 Page 3

 

 

14. It is also concluded that the respondent failed to demonstrate the applicability of any exemptions for disclosure of the requested records under the facts of this case.

 

15. It is concluded that the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15(a) and 1-20b, G.S., under the facts of this case.

 

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

 

1. The respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainant a copy of the records identified in paragraph 2)-c), of the findings, above.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 24, 1996.

 

 

 

__________________________

Doris V. Luetjen

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

fic1995-414/fd/mwp/07311996


 

Docket # FIC 1995-414 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:

 

Walter J. Smykla

51 Tomlinson Avenue

Plainville, CT 06062

 

Daniel J. Coppinger, Chief of Police

Plainville Police Department

c/o Atty. Robert A. Michalik

Plainville Town Attorney

P.O. Box 2950

136 West Main Street

New Britain, CT 06050-2950,

 

 

 

__________________________

Doris V. Luetjen

Acting Clerk of the Commission