FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
|In the Matter of a Complaint by||FINAL DECISION|
|against||Docket #FIC 2010-106|
Chief, Police Department,
Town of Hamden; and
Town of Hamden,
|Respondents||January 28, 2011|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 22, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts, and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction. See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.). This matter was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2010-107, Robert Tagliaferi v. Chief, Police Department, Town of Hamden et al., and Docket #FIC 2010-108, Robert Tagliaferi v. Department of Correction et al.
1. The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2. By letter of complaint filed February 17, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents denied his February 3, 2010 request for certain public records relating to his arrest.
3. It is found that, by letter dated February 3, 2010, the complainant requested a very substantial number of records concerning roughly a dozen Hamden police officers. Those records included lawsuits and claims concerning the use of excessive force and falsified police reports, investigations and findings regarding the same, personnel training records, policies and procedures relevant to the use of force and similar issues, names of officers no longer employed, and arrest reports and records concerning the complainant’s 2008 arrest and the arrest of other individuals.
4. It is found that the respondents acknowledged the February 3 request on February 16, 2010, and indicated their intention to begin retrieving and reviewing the requested records.
5. It is found that the respondents provided responsive records to the complainant on March 15, April 5, August 4, October 18, and November 17, 2010.
6. It is found that the records provided to the complainant comprise a stack about one foot high.
7. It is found that the respondents provided the records without charge, on the basis of the complainant’s asserted indigence, with the understanding that they may seek to collect the copying fees at such time as funds were available to the complainant. The Commission makes no findings or conclusions regarding the respondent’s right to collect such fees in the future or the complainant’s obligation to pay them.
8. Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
9. Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant 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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
10. Section 1-212(a)(1), G.S., provides in relevant part:
Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.
11. Additionally, §1-212(d)(1), G.S., provides: “The public agency shall waive any fee provided for in this section when: (1) The person requesting the records is an indigent individual ….”
12. It is found that the requested records, to the extent they exist, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
13. The only issue raised by the complainant is the completeness of the records provided in response to his request for policies and procedures relevant to the use of force.
14. It is found that the respondents redacted only two paragraphs of specialized information pertaining to the use of force.
15. The respondents assert that the redacted information is exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(3)(D), which provides that disclosure is not required of:
Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of … (D) investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public ….
16. It is concluded that the redacted information is permissibly exempt from disclosure pursuant to §1-210(b)(3), G.S., and that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by withholding it.
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of January 28, 2011.
Cynthia A. Cannata
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:
Robert Tagliaferi #207761
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
1153 East Street South
Suffield, CT 06080
Chief, Police Department, Town of Hamden; and Police Department, Town of Hamden
c/o Susan Gruen, Esq.
Office of the Town Attorney
2750 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission