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Final Decision FIC2012-179
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Joseph Provost,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-179
Robert Hoffman, Chief, Police
Department, Town of Plainfield; Lynda
Van Auken, Records Supervisor, Police
Department, Town of Plainfield; and
Police Department, Town of Plainfield,
     Respondents
October 24, 2012

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on September 21, 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 23, 2012, the complainant requested a copy of audio, video, and written records created or collected by the respondents during certain hours on March 13, 2012 and March 20, 2012.
     3.  It is found that on March 26, 2012, the respondent Records Supervisor acknowledged the complainant’s request with an unsigned letter stating that they will respond as quickly as possible with any releasable information and setting out the procedure for payment of the fee for copies.
     4.  By letter of complaint filed March 30, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with a copy of the records he requested.  The complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.
     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.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant stated that the respondents had complied satisfactorily with his request for audio and written records.  Accordingly, the complainant is no longer pursuing his appeal to this Commission with respect to such records. 
     10.  With respect to the video records, it is found that at the time of the complainant’s request, the respondents maintained the video recordings only for 24 hours, after which time the recordings were automatically taped over.
     11.  It is found that on March 29, 2012, the complainant had a telephone conversation with the respondent Records Supervisor, who gave the complainant incorrect information about the length of time that the respondents maintain their video recordings.
     12.  It is found that in fact the respondents did not maintain the video recordings requested by the complainant at the time of his request, which was more than 24 hours after the days in question.
     13.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged by the complainant.
     14.  It is found that the respondents subsequently, and as a result of the complainant’s request for records, changed the length of time that the video records are maintained from 24 hours to 29 to 31 days.

     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 October 24, 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:
Joseph Provost
c/o Richard Cody
34 Church Street
Mystic, CT  06355
Robert Hoffman, Chief, Police Department,
Town of Plainfield; Lynda Van Auken,
Records Supervisor, Police Department,
Town of Plainfield; and Police Department,
Town of Plainfield
c/o Holly Quackenbush Darin, Esq.
Ryan & Ryan, LLC
900 Chapel Street,
Suite 621
New Haven, CT  06510

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-179/FD/cac/10/24/2012