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Final Decision FIC2011-210
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Barbara Woodrow,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2011-210
Shawn M. Boyne, Chief, Police Department,
Town of New Milford; and Police Department,
Town of New Milford,
     Respondents
March 14, 2012

The above-captioned matter was scheduled for hearing as a contested case on January 18, 2012, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.
After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2.  By letter dated March 21, 2011, the complainant made a request to the respondents for copies of all records “concerning my father Joseph A. Woodrow and police officers patrolman Earl Wheeler and Sgt. Michael Mrazik [at] 11 Mill St. 06778 on the evening of March 15, 1999” (the “requested records”).
3.  By letter dated April 19, 2011 and filed April 20, 2011, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents’ failure to produce the requested records violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties. 
4.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
     “Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
5.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
     Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
6.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., 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.”
7.  It is found that the records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records and must be disclosed in accordance with §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure.
8.  It is found that, pursuant to an earlier request, the respondents had by letter dated April 27, 2010 provided the relevant incident report to the complainant, with the name of a witness redacted. At the hearing, the respondents provided the complainant with an additional copy of the incident report, with the same redaction. 
9.  At the hearing, the complainant testified that the requested records were inaccurate and had been improperly altered since 1999. The respondent Chief, Police Department stated that he had been a member of the respondent Police Department for less than two years. The complainant also noted the absence of dispatch records among the records provided to her.
10.  The respondents agreed to mail the dispatch records to the complainant following the hearing, or if the records no longer exist, to provide a written explanation of their absence. The respondent Chief, Police Department testified that the respondent Police Department maintained no records concerning the incident described at paragraph 2 other than the incident report and possibly the dispatch records. With reference to the allegation that records were altered, the respondent Chief, Police Department also testified that the computer generated cover sheet for the incident report was programmed to refer to members of the respondent Police Department based on their rank at the time the cover sheet was generated, not their rank at the time of the 1999 incident report.       
11.  By letter dated January 19, 2012, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of the “call log” or dispatch records. By letter dated January 25, 2012, the complainant argued the record provided was only part of the complete records and that the “call log” provided had been altered. This exchange of correspondence mirrored the hearing in that there was no specific evidence indicating alteration or modification of public records.
12.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide the complainant with the requested records.
13.  Because there is no violation, no civil penalty is warranted.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The complaint is hereby dismissed. 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 14, 2012.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Barbara Woodrow
P.O. Box 1617
New Milford, CT  06776
Shawn M. Boyne, Chief, Police Department, Town of New Milford;
and Police Department, Town of New Milford
c/o D. Randall DiBella, Esq.
Cramer & Anderson, LLP
51 Main Street
New Milford, CT  06776
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2011-210/FD/cac/3/14/2012