FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

 

In the Matter of a Request
for Advisory Opinion


 

     Advisory Opinion   #53

Town Manager, Town of Watertown,

Applicant

    

 

 

 

On March 21, 1983, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to the request for an advisory opinion filed by the Town Manager, Town of Watertown.

 

In his request, the applicant states that the Watertown Town Council is considering a proposed ordinance requiring that automatic dialing burglar, hold‑up or fire alarms not be programmed to the "911" emergency telephone number. The proposed ordinance would also require that each alarm system installer or owner register with the police department by providing it with the address of the building where the alarm is located, the owner of that building, the type of alarm installed or in use and the names of three individuals whom the department can contact if the alarm goes off.

 

In essence, the applicant seeks the Commission's opinion as to whether the police department's records listing the address of each building where an alarm is located, the owner of such building, the type of alarm installed or in use and the names of the three individuals to be contacted if the alarm goes off, would constitute public records that must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat.1‑18a(d) defines "public records" as

 

any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency. whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape‑recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

A municipal police department is a public agency within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat.1‑18a(a). Therefore, it is the Commission's opinion that the department's records containing the address of each building where an alarm is located, the owner of each such building, the type of alarm installed or in use and the names of the individuals to be contacted in case the alarm goes off, are public records as defined above. See

Freedom of Information Advisory Opinion *47, p.l.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat.1‑18(a) provides that all public records must be made available for public inspection or copying, unless otherwise provided by federal law or state statute. The Commission is unaware of any federal law or state statute that permits or requires the nondisclosure of the subject records. See Freedom of Information Advisory Opinion #47, pp.2‑3. Consequently, the Commission must conclude that the subject records would have to be disclosed as public records that are not exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

 

 

                                                                                            By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                            Information Commission

                                                                                           

                                                                                ________________________
                                                                                            Judith A. Lahey, Chairman of
                                                                                            of the Freedom of Information
                                                                                            Commission

Date ___________________

 

Ordered_________________

Mary Jo Jolicoeur
Clerk of the Commission