As of September 5, 2022, Freedom of Information Commission meetings and contested case hearings will resume being conducted in person. All parties and witnesses must appear in person for their contested case hearings and Commission meetings. Please access this link or contact the Commission for further information.

Final Decision FIC2012-167
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Michelle Sabre,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-167
Chief, Police Department, Town of
Milford; and Police Department, Town of
Milford,
     Respondents
September 12, 2012

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 15, 2012, at which time the complainant and 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.  It is found that on March 3, 2012, the complainant requested a copy of a statement provided to the respondents by her neighbor pertaining to case number 2011-006757, concerning an incident that occurred on September 10, 2011.
     3.  It is found that on March 3, 2012, the respondents denied the complainant’s request.
     4.  By letter of complaint filed March 25, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide her with a copy of the records she requested.
     5.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., defines “public records” as follows:
          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, …whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
     6.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides, in relevant part:
          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 … receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
     7.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part:  “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
     8.  It is concluded that the records requested by the complainant are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), 1-210(a), and 1-212(a), G.S.
     9.  It is found that the respondents provided all records that they maintain concerning the incident described in paragraph 2, above, except for the statement by the complainant’s neighbor.  In particular, it is found that the respondents provided the complainant’s statement, the incident report, the supplemental report, and the reporting officer’s narrative.  It is found that the respondents did not provide a copy of the complainant’s 911 call because it had already been erased in accordance with records retention guidelines by the time the complainant requested a copy.
     10.  The respondents claim the neighbor’s signed statement is exempt from mandatory disclosure because it is a signed statement of a witness.
     11.  Section 1-210(b)(3)(B), G.S., provides that disclosure is not required of  “[r]ecords of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of … (B) signed statements of witnesses …”
     12.  The complainant contends that her neighbor’s statement is not a signed statement of a witness because, the complainant alleges, the neighbor is the perpetrator of wrongdoing.
     13.  Section 1-210(b)(3), G.S., does not define the word “witness;” however, its generally accepted meaning is “one who has personal knowledge of something.”  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witness; accessed August 15, 2012.
     14.  It is found that the complainant’s neighbor is a witness, within the meaning of §1-210(b)(3)(B), G.S.
     15.  It is found that the record that the respondents withheld from the complainant is a signed statement of a witness.
     16.  It is also found that the record was compiled in connection with the investigation of crime.
     17.  It is concluded, therefore, that such record is exempt from mandatory disclosure.
     18.  It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act by withholding such records from the complainant.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1.  The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 12, 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:
Michelle Sabre
25 Botsford Avenue
Milford, CT  06460
Chief, Police Department, Town of Milford; and
Police Department, Town of Milford
c/o Debra S. Kelly, Esq.
Office of the City Attorney
City Hall
110 River Street
Milford, CT  06460
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2012-167/FD/cac/9/12/2012