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HomeMy WebLinkAboutPolicy 106 – Release of Department Records1� 1 yuyii OSHKOSH POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE TITLE: RELEASE OF DEPARTMENTAL RECORDS PROCEDURE POLICY SERIES: 106 Effective Date: April 2, 2018 Date Issued: March 19, 2018 Chief of Police: Dean Smith (Signature on File) Date Signed: March 19, 2018 Statutory References: 19.32(2), 19.34, 19.35, 19.37, 905.03, 938.396 CALEA Standard: 26.2.5; 82.1.1 WILEAG Standard: 10.2.1 Final Review Completed: March 15, 2018 Review By: Command Staff Rescinds Policy Dated: March 12, 2010 106.01 General Policy 106.02 Purpose 106.03 Definitions 106.04 Records Inspection/Release of Information 106.05 Limitations on Access/Withholding Information 1= l r 1 Open Records Request Form • en. i !','; Authorization for Release of Records e, 1.. Denial Response Form Letter - Medical Information en Denial Response Form Letter - Juvenile Information ,. I ; Denial Response Form Letter - Under Investigation 1 / . 1 eni F Denial Response Form Letter — State Charges Pending 1.i J Denial Response Form Letter — Confidential/Sensitive Material pen i ll Open Records Request Fees 106.01 GENERAL POLICY A. The public has an abiding interest in law enforcement and in the activities of the department. The news media and members of the public frequently direct inquiries to the department to fulfill police records requests. B. It shall be the policy of the Oshkosh Police Department to provide the public with open access to records regarding the activities of the department and its employees whenever such records are not specifically excluded by federal or state statute; or the release of such records would infringe upon the constitutional rights of the accused; interfere with an on -going investigation or require special consideration. C. The decision to release police records will be determined according to the facts of each case in accordance with the guidance contained within this policy. Providing the public with open access to information is held to be an essential part of the routine duties of the officers and employees of the Oshkosh Police Department. 106.02 PURPOSE A. These procedures are intended to provide guidelines for the identification and uniform dissemination of information kept by the Police Department. B. Oshkosh Police Department Policy 105 Public Information contains additional direction relating to the release of Oshkosh Police Department Records. 106.03 DEFINITIONS A. Legal Custodian of Records - The Legal Custodian of Records for the Oshkosh Police Department is designated by the Chief of Police to be the Office Manager. 2 B. Public Record — As stated in Wisconsin Statute 19.32 (2), a Record means any material on which written, drawn, printed, spoken, visual, or electromagnetic information is recorded or preserved, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which has been created or is being kept by an authority. "Record" includes, but is not limited to, handwritten, typed or printed pages, maps, charts, photographs, films, recordings, tapes (including computer tapes), and computer printouts and optical disks. "Open Records" are further defined under Wisconsin's Open Records Law, Section 19.35, Wisconsin Statutes. C. Requestor - Means any person either identified or unidentified who requests inspection or copies of a record. 106.04 RECORDS INSPECTION / RELEASE OF INFORMATION A. It shall be the responsibility of the Office Manager to maintain and control those records held and maintained by the Oshkosh Police Department and to ensure adherence to the procedures outlined in this policy. B. Unofficial use of police records and tampering with police records is prohibited. No Police Department employee shall release any police record or divulge any matters relating to official police business without first receiving authorization from the Chief of Police or his designee. C. The Chief of Police authorizes the Records and Reports Clerks to manage the inspection, release, or duplication of those records held and maintained by the Oshkosh Police Department. Any unusual requests made outside the normal course of business shall require notification to the Office Manager and/or Administrative Bureau Captain. D. Routine requests for information held by the Oshkosh Police Department shall be made either in writing, by completing the Open Records Request Form (Appendix 106 A), or by any other method to request the records. 1. The procedures for requesting information or inspection of records will be displayed for the public in accordance with Wisconsin State Statute 19.34(1). 2. Unless release of the requested information is otherwise prohibited, the requested information should be provided to, or the requester given 3 access to the requested information, as soon as practicable and without delay. 3. If a request is denied, the requester shall be notified in writing including the reason for denial (Appendix 106 C, D, E, F or G). 4. If the information requested does not exist the requester will be notified. E. In addition to those procedures listed above, other guidelines for the release of Oshkosh Police Department records are as follows: 1. Requests must be specific in regards to the information requested and the length of time involved. 2. The Oshkosh Police Department is not required to create a new record by extracting and compiling information from existing records into a new format. Written transcripts of recorded interviews or interrogations will not be provided. Unless the request is denied for lawful reasons, a copy of the recorded interview or interrogation will be provided in digital format. 3. Requestors are not required to identify themselves. 4. Denials must inform the requester that the denial is subject to review in an action for mandamus under section 19.37(1) or by application to the Winnebago County District Attorney or Wisconsin Attorney General. 5. Digital images / recordings will be released in an unalterable format whenever possible. 6. For administrative purposes, it may be necessary to provide reports to the City of Oshkosh Worker's Compensation Administrator to properly process worker's compensation claims for employees injured during the course of their duties. Records may be released to the Worker's Compensation Administrator as follows: a. Records released under this paragraph should be limited to that information specific to the employee's injury / injuries and the cause(s) of injury. 4 b. Records of adults may be released to the City of Oshkosh Worker's Compensation Administrator who shall maintain the confidentiality of those records. c. Records of juveniles may be released to the officer as the victim of a juvenile's actions pursuant to 938.396. The officer may then provide that information to the Worker's Compensation Administrator for the purpose of recovering compensation for his/her injury, damage or loss suffered as the result of a juvenile's actions. d. Records containing references to juveniles whose actions are not the cause of the injury to the victim officer(s) should be redacted. 7. Any fees associated with a request for a copy of a record shall not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of reproduction and transcription of the record, unless a fee is otherwise specifically established or authorized to be established by law. However, a fee may be imposed upon a requester for locating a record (archival) if the cost of that recovery is estimated to be $50.00 or more. Fees for photographs are determined by a schedule based on departmental costs of reproduction. Whenever possible, photo images shall be released in a digital format. 106.05 LIMITATIONS UPON ACCESS OR WITHHOLDING OF INFORMATION A. Certain requests may warrant special consideration to the competing public interests favoring inspection or non -inspection before permitting the release of the requested public records of documents. The term "special consideration" as used herein shall include answering the following question..." would inspection of the desired public record result in harm to the public interest that would outweigh any benefit to the public that would result from inspection?" B. Any record which is specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal law or authorized to be exempted from disclosure by state law is exempt from disclosure under s. 19.35 (1), except that any portion of that record which contains public information is open to public inspection. Inaccessible material contained in exempted documents shall be blocked out, or otherwise deleted before copying or access is permitted. If in the judgment of the custodian and the 5 City Attorney there is no feasible way to separate the exempt material from the nonexempt material without unreasonably jeopardizing nondisclosure of the exempt material, the entire record shall be withheld from disclosure. 1. Exceptions to the open records law include, but may not be limited to the following: a. Police records involving a felony arrest prior to a preliminary examination. Release of these records prior to the preliminary examination could diminish the chance of a successful prosecution. These records would be considered part of an ongoing investigation and the District Attorney's Office should be contacted to determine what impact releasing the record would have on the prosecution of the case. b. For felony cases, limited discovery of police information and witnesses is permitted by law prior to trial. Information contained in police records concerning pending proceedings of which the State is a party shall only be released upon court order or in compliance with the law of criminal discovery. c. Information which would jeopardize ongoing investigations or those in progress. Any information concerning or able to be used in a continuing investigation of a police matter shall receive "special consideration". There is the possibility of prejudice to the potential defendant's right to a fair trial, but also a possibility that premature release of information may hamper police in the swift conclusion of their investigation or other disposition of the case. d. Computer programs and other copyrighted or trademarked material. e. Juvenile records, unless statutory exceptions for the release of information are satisfied. For further reference see Policy 410 Juvenile Records. f. Records obtained under official pledges of confidentiality which were necessary and given in order to obtain the information contained in them. 6 2. The following records are exempt from public disclosure if the legal custodian determines that the harm to the public interest resulting from disclosure would outweigh the public interest in full access to the requested record. a. Records of current deliberations after a quasi-judicial hearing. b. Records of current deliberations concerning employment, dismissal, promotion, demotion, compensation, performance, or discipline or any city officer or employee, or the investigation of charges against a city officer or employee, unless such officer or employee consents to such disclosure. c. Records concerning current strategy for crime detection or prevention. d. Financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons which, if disclosed, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such history or data. e. Communications between legal counsel for the city and any officer, agent, or employee of the city, when advice is being rendered concerning strategy with respect to current litigation in which the city or any of its officers, agents or employees is or is likely to become involved, or communications which are privileged under SS sec. 905.03. f. Records revealing details of cases that are of a highly sensitive nature, i.e. sexual assault. 3. The Federal Driver's Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721, prohibits disclosure of "personal information" and "highly personal information" received by law enforcement from the Department of Motor Vehicles Records unless the request for disclosure falls within on the of the statute's permissible uses. 7