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Final Decision FIC2012-407
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Gaylord Salters,
     Complainant
 
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-407
Chief, Police Department, City of New
Haven; Police Department, City of New
Haven; Commissioner, State of
Connecticut, Department of Correction;
and State of Connecticut, Department of
Correction,
     Respondents
May 22, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 4, 2013, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. The complainant, who is incarcerated, appeared via teleconference, pursuant to the January 2004 memorandum of understanding between the Commission and the Department of Correction.  See Docket No. CV 03-0826293, Anthony Sinchak v. FOIC et al, Superior Court, J.D. of Hartford at Hartford, Corrected Order dated January 27, 2004 (Sheldon, J.).  The case was consolidated for hearing with Docket #FIC 2012-414; Gaylord Salters v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction.  Before the hearing began, the complainant withdrew his complaint against the Chief of the New Haven Police Department and the New Haven Police Department.
     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 in May, 2012, the complainant requested from the New Haven Police Department a copy of the “complete rap sheet” of a witness in the complainant’s criminal case.
     3.  It is found that the New Haven Police Department delivered the requested records to the Freedom of Information Administrator for the Department of Correction (“DOC”), pursuant to §1-210(c), G.S., in  the manner articulated in the Method of Compliance posted on the Freedom of Information Commission’s website.
     4.  It is found that on July 9, 2012, the DOC FOI Administrator informed the complainant by letter that they received records from the New Haven Police Department, but that the DOC was withholding them from the complainant based on §1-210(b)(18), G.S.
     5.  By letter of complaint filed July 20, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that DOC violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of records.
     6.  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.
     7.  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.
     8.  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.”
     9.  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.
     10.  Section 1-210(b)(18), G.S., exempts:
          Records, the disclosure of which the Commissioner of Correction, or as it applies to Whiting Forensic Division facilities of the Connecticut Valley Hospital, the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, has reasonable grounds to believe may result in a safety risk, including the risk of harm to any person or the risk of an escape from, or a disorder in, a correctional institution or facility under the supervision of the Department of Correction or Whiting Forensic Division facilities. Such records shall include, but are not limited to:
               (A)  Security manuals, including emergency plans contained or referred to in such security manuals;
               (B)  Engineering and architectural drawings of correctional institutions or facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities;
               (C)  Operational specifications of security systems utilized by the Department of Correction at any correctional institution or facility or Whiting Forensic Division facilities, except that a general description of any such security system and the cost and quality of such system may be disclosed;
               (D)  Training manuals prepared for correctional institutions and facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities that describe, in any manner, security procedures, emergency plans or security equipment;
               (E)  Internal security audits of correctional institutions and facilities or Whiting Forensic Division facilities;
               (F)  Minutes or recordings of staff meetings of the Department of Correction or Whiting Forensic Division facilities, or portions of such minutes or recordings, that contain or reveal information relating to security or other records otherwise exempt from disclosure under this subdivision;
               (G)  Logs or other documents that contain information on the movement or assignment of inmates or staff at correctional institutions or facilities; and

               (H)  Records that contain information on contacts between inmates, as defined in section 18-84, and law enforcement officers.
     11.  Based on the testimony by the respondents, it is found that the information contained in the “rap sheet” requested by the complainant poses a security threat within the correctional institution.  It is found that the respondents’ policy is to prohibit inmates from maintaining “rap sheets” within the institution.
     12.  It is found that the commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure of the records requested by the complainant may result in a safety risk. 
     13.  It is concluded, therefore, that such records are exempt from disclosure.
     14.  Accordingly, it is concluded that the DOC did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.
     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 against all parties.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 22, 2013.

__________________________
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:
Gaylord Salters #211892
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center
986 Norwich-New London Turnpike
Uncasville, CT  06382
Chief, Police Department, City of New Haven;
Police Department, City of New Haven;
c/o Kathleen M. Foster, Esq.
Office of the Corporation Counsel
165 Church Street
New Haven, CT  06510
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of
Correction; and State of Connecticut, Department of Correction,
c/o James E. Neil, Esq.
State of Connecticut,
Department of Correction
24 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT  06109
____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-407/FD/cac/5/22/2013