Place v. Chief, Police Department of the Special Services District of the Town of Putnam
Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(a) provides in relevant part that "[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record." Michael Place appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the Police Department of the Special Services District of the Town of Putnam and its chief violated the Freedom of Information Commission by failing to comply with his records request pertaining to a certain criminal incident. The respondents acknowledged the complainant's July 28, 2011 request on Aug. 2, 2011 stating that they intended to comply with the request. After the complainant filed his FOIA appeal, the respondents provided him with more than 100 pages of records. At the hearing, the complainant testified that he was missing certain records including a sergeant's initial report, a detective's email with attached photographs and local telephone call records for certain dates. The FOIC found that the sergeant did not file an "initial" report and the respondents provided the complainant with the sergeant's only report, which was "supplemental" to ongoing investigatory reports. For the email and photographs, the FOIC found that the respondents upgraded their computer system and replaced their server in 2009. The email sought was created in 2008 on a detective's individual computer without backup and the computer was destroyed when new computers were obtained. Based on exhibits filed after the hearing, the chief made a copy of hard copies of the digital photographs attached to the email and sent them to the complainant. The FOIC concluded that the respondents violated the FOIA by failing to provide the complainant with such copies in a more prompt manner. For the telephone calls, the FOIC found that the respondents do not maintain records listing incoming and outgoing telephone numbers and their telephone bill does not itemize local calls. The respondents provided the complainant with compact discs of certain telephone calls that were the subject of another request by the compliant and did not violate the FOIA as alleged. The respondents were directed to strictly comply with the promptness provisions of the FOIA.