FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Harold Owen Chace,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-158
Chief, Police Department, Town of
Hamden; and Police Department, Town of
Hamden,
 
  Respondents January 28, 2011
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 15, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  By letter dated March 5, 2010 and filed with the Commission on March 8, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (hereinafter “FOI”) Act by failing to provide the complainant with records described in paragraph 3, below.

 

3.  It is found that, by letters dated February 11, 2010 and February 17, 2010, the complainant requested that the respondents provide him with copies of the following information:

 

a.       A copy of all policy manuals of the Hamden Police Department from June 1, 1994 to present;

b.      A copy of all complaints and documents filed against the complainant from June 1, 1994 to present;

c.       A copy of all records including arrest warrants for all people arrested for stalking in the Town of Hamden from June 1, 1994 to present;

d.      A copy of the disciplinary records of the following HPD officers:

                                                                    i.            N. Lovett - Badge 50;

                                                                  ii.            Kakalo - Badge 67;

                                                                iii.            J. Battick - Badge 7;

                                                                iv.            M. DiMaria - Badge 42;

                                                                  v.            Milano - Badge 79;

                                                                vi.            Badge 86;

                                                              vii.            J. Liquouri - Badge 30;

e.       A copy of all documents sent to HPD by the complainant;

f.       A transcription of “all dispatch calls over the last 15 years including calls by Norman Watson, Bernice Thomas, Watson’s mother or anyone else for whom the complainant is the subject of the call.  Calls are not limited to 911, (203) 230-4000 and include cell phones to any officer on patrol duty;” and

g.      The “police officer driving car 38 at 9:00 a.m. Whitney at Treadwell 2/17/2010.”

 

4.  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.

 

5.  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….

 

6.  Section 1-212(a), 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.”

 

7.  It is found that, to the extent the requested records exist and are maintained by the respondents, such records are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure.

 

8.  At the hearing on this matter, the complainant testified that the respondents provided him with most of the requested records.  The complainant also testified that the only records that remain at issue in this matter are the records described in paragraph 3.e., above, and the dispatch calls of “Watson’s mother,” described in paragraph 3.f., above (hereinafter “the requested records”).

 

9.  With respect to the records described in paragraph 3.e., above, the respondents claimed that they provided the complainant with all responsive records and that such records were promptly provided to the complainant in response to his previous December 29, 2009 request for records.  As to the records described in paragraph 3.f., above, the respondents also claimed that they complied with such request to the extent that they were able to locate the dispatch calls of “Watson’s mother” using the information provided by the complainant.  The respondents further claimed that the complainant did not provide them with the full name of “Watson’s mother” nor the specific dates and times necessary to identify specific responsive dispatch calls.

 

10.  The complainant conceded that he does not know the full name of “Watson’s mother” and, therefore, did not provide the respondents with her full name.  The complainant contended that the respondents had “enough context” to review their dispatch call records to determine whether or not there were calls from “Watson’s mother.”

 

11.  It is found, however, that the respondents conducted a diligent search for records responsive to the complainant’s request described in paragraph 3, above.  It is also found that, once the complainant supplied the respondents with payment for such records, the respondents in turn made all nonexempt records in their custody, to the extent they were locatable, available to the complainant.

 

12.  Based upon the foregoing, it is found that the respondents promptly provided all records responsive to the requests described in paragraph 3, above, to the complainant.

 

13.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.

 

            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 special meeting of January 28, 2011.

 

 

__________________________

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:

 

Harold Owen Chace

70 Manor Street

Hamden, CT 06517

 

Chief, Police Department,

Town of Hamden; and Police

Department, Town of Hamden

c/o Susan Gruen, Esq.

Office of the Town Attorney

Town of Hamden

2750 Dixwell Avenue

Hamden, CT 06518

 

 

 

 

____________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

 

 

FIC/2010-158/FD/paj/2/3/2011