Police should always redirect you to the Daily Log if no other records can be released

Here is another highlight from Indiana Public Access Counselor’s opinion archive from August 17th, 2017 (17-INF-203) regarding police records and specificity.

The general rule of thumb is to be as specific as possible and avoid the term any and all as you will most likely be rejected for lack of specificity as Luke Britt mentions in his opinion below.

On July 20, 2017, Fromer submitted a public records request to the Purdue University Police Department seeking the following:

Police reports, narratives, accounts, statements, officer accounts, logs, notes, e-mails, dispatch notes, officer trip history, supplementals, appendices, and any and all related documents and entries including all contents thereof, for the following, Officer Myles and Lt. Wiete concerning an accidental shooting on 12-23-2012, at 733 N. Grant St. West Lafayette, IN 47906. Police report case #: 2012-001972.

As of the date of the filing of his complaint, Fromer had not received a response. PUPD argues the request was never received and denied the request in accordance with the APRA exception for the investigatory records of law enforcement.

[…]

So long as that discretion is not abused as arbitrary (i.e. it would not jeopardize public safety, an underlying investigation or an individual privacy expectation), the agency is justified in withholding the information. Even so, the immediate request itself is so unspecific and unparticular that it is unclear what actual document the Complainant is seeking.

[…]

My recommendation is for PUPD to send the Complainant the daily log from the event referenced in his request. If Mr. Fromer cannot narrow the scope of his request, the PUPD may withhold or release information so long as the decision is not made arbitrarily simply because the statute declares release to be discretionary.

17-FC-203: Alleged Violation of the Access to Public Records Act by the Purdue University Police Department