In our Open Doors substack, we have a section that shares pro-tips for sharpening requests. This page will serve as a collection of those observations.
- In the Public Access Counselor’s Advisory Opinion 21-FC-52, Mr. Britt states:
First, a request to inspect or copy a law enforcement recording must be in writing. See Ind. Code § 5-14-3-3(i). Bowman’s initial requests were oral; however, she did follow up in writing. As a result, the timing of this issue favors the Town insofar as the request was not made in writing until just prior to the filing of Bowman’s complaint.
Lesson: Always immediately follow-up any oral/in-person/phone requests with a written summary of the request via e-mail. Be sure to include everyone who may need to know about the request (e.g. Public Records Officer, Department Heads, etc.)
This will help ensure mutual knowledge and clarity of the request and also explicitly start the clock in case you need to file your own complaint.