FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

Roberta Console,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-549

Chief of Police, Simsbury Police Department; Animal Control Officer, Town of Simsbury; First Selectman, Town of Simsbury; and Town of Simsbury,  

Respondents

July 30, 1997

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 25, 1997, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the hearing, the First Selectman, Town of Simsbury, was made a party respondent in this matter and the case caption has been amended to reflect this change.

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 to all the individual respondents dated October 13, 1996, the complainant requested that she be provided with a copy of the "rabies reports by Lester Kniffen and Chief of Police Schull", including any testing reports or data stemming from an October 2, 1996 incident (the "requested records" or "records request").

3. On behalf of the respondents, the respondent Chief of Police, Simsbury Police Department (the "police chief") sent an undated letter to the complainant acknowledging receipt of her records request, advising her that an investigation of the October 2, 1996 incident was underway and the requested records were not yet complete, and finally, promising that the requested records would be provided when the investigation was complete.

4. By letter dated October 24, 1996, and filed on October 28, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to comply with her records request.

5. It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-15(a), G.S.

6. Section 1-15(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record....

7. It is found that the respondent police chief is the custodian of the requested records, and that at the time of the complainant’s request, he had in his possession an October 5, 1996 case incident report and twenty-one rabies reports that were responsive to the records request ("the records").

8. The respondent police chief contends that he did not provide the complainant with the records because he thought that the complainant was seeking a copy of the entire contents of the investigation file which was not yet complete.

9. It is concluded that the respondent police chief violated 1-15(a), G.S., by failing to promptly provide the complainant with a copy of the records that existed at the time of the complainant’s request, as described at paragraph 7, above.

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

1. If he has not already done so, the respondent police chief shall forthwith provide to the complainant, free of charge, a copy of the records that existed at the time of her request, as described at paragraph 7, above.

2. Henceforth, the respondent police chief shall strictly comply with the provisions of 1-15, G.S.

3. With respect to the other respondents, the complaint is dismissed.

4. The Commission notes that since the date of the complainant’s request in this matter, an investigation of the October 2, 1996 incident was completed and resulted in a ninety page police report. The Commission encourages the respondent police chief to provide the complainant with the completed police report.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of July 30, 1997.

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission

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:
Roberta Console
100 Hedgehog Lane
West Simsbury, CT. 06092

Chief of Police, Simsbury Police Department; Animal Control Officer, Town of Simsbury; First Selectman, Town of Simsbury; and Town of Simsbury
c/o Paul Fetherston
Assistant to the First Selectman
933 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT. 06070

__________________________
Doris V. Luetjen
Acting Clerk of the Commission
fic1996-549/FD/mes/08141997