FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
James Leonard, Jr.,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2006-138

William Gagliardi, Chief,

Police Department,

City of New Britain,

 
  Respondents January 10, 2007
       

  

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 6, 2006, 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.      It is found that the respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by letter dated February 24, 2006, the complainant requested that the respondent provide him with copies of the following records:

 

a.       all personnel files for Captain Robert Remillard, Detectives Daniel Phillips, Alicides Morales and William Chutes; 

 

b.      all information regarding the officers named in paragraph 2.a, above, pertaining to civil violations, job performance, misconduct, lack of credibility, bias, history of excessive force used, and pertaining to drug use, drug programs and racial bias;

 

c.       all files and action taken on complaints filed against the officers named in paragraph 2.a, above, by the public, the New Britain Police Department and Unions; and

 

d.      any internal files regarding whether any of the officers were arrested in any federal or state court “from the first day to the last day as a police”.

 

3.  By letter dated and filed March 27, 2006, the complainant, through his attorney, appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act specifically by denying his request for a copy of a civil court judgment, dated July 23, 1986, against Officer William Chute.[1]

 

            4.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:

 

[e]xcept 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours…or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

            5.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

6.  It is found that the record, described in paragraph 3, above, is neither maintained by the respondent, nor by the New Britain Police Department (hereinafter “department”).  Rather, it is found that such record is maintained by the corporation counsel’s office for the city of New Britain (hereinafter “corporation counsel”) in its “litigation files”.  It is found that such record was located by the corporation counsel in a file, captioned “Albert, Reno et al. v. DiPinto, Daniel, et al.”, in the basement of the corporation counsel’s office, after the existence of the judgment against Officer Chute was brought to the corporation counsel’s attention by the complainant.

 

7.  It is found that the department maintains the following records:  personnel files, training files and medical files.  It is found further that, if a complaint concerning an officer’s conduct is made to the department, the respondent also would maintain all files related to the investigation of such complaint, and such files would be considered discipline or internal affairs files.  

 

8.  It is found that the record at issue in this case is not a part of any of the files described in paragraph 7, above.

 

9.  It is found that neither the respondent nor his staff had any knowledge that the corporation counsel’s office maintained the twenty-year-old judgment in question.

 

10.  In his complaint, the complainant contends that “a record of this judgment should have been maintained in connection with the files maintained by the respondents regarding Officer Chute” (emphasis added).

 

11. Although it is found that a more ideal record management system would require that all records pertaining to the conduct of a police officer be maintained by the police department, or, at a minimum, be capable of being readily cross-referenced by such department, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., because neither the respondent nor the department maintained the record at issue in this case.

 

            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 January 10, 2007.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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:

 

James Leonard, Jr.

c/o Charles Willson, Esq.

Nevins & Nevins LLP

PO Box 280658

102 Connecticut Boulevard

East Hartford, CT 06108

 

William Gagliardi, Chief,

Police Department,

City of New Britain

c/o Irena J. Urbaniak, Esq.

New Britain Corporation Counsel

27 West Main Street

New Britain, CT 06051

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

FIC/2006-138FD/paj/1/16/2007

 

 

                                                                                   

 

 



[1] Although the request to the respondent was broad, the complaint filed with the Commission concerned only this one issue.