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Final Decision FIC2012-683
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Owen Chase,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2012-683
Chief, Police Department, Town of
Hamden; and Police Department, Town
of Hamden,
     Respondents
July 24, 2013

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 4, 2013, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 of complaint filed December 7, 2012, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his request for public records.
     3.  It is found that the complainant believes that police officers are stalking and harassing him, and has observed officers in police vehicles near his home and place of business more often than he would expect in a quiet neighborhood.
     4.  It is found that the complainant made a November 7, 2012 request for records pertaining to police officers in specified police vehicles on certain dates, time and locations. The information requested was the name and badge number officer observed, the officer’s disciplinary record, the officer’s immediate supervisor, and any communications directing the officer to be at the observed time and place.
     5.  It is found that the respondents referred to the police duty roster to identify the officers in the specified vehicles on the days observed by the complainant, provided those names to the complainant, and asked that the complainant specify the particular documents he was requesting.
     6.  When the complainant re-iterated his original request, not specifying particular documents, the respondents further searched for, and provided to the complainant, records of the disciplinary history of each officer, records that showed the immediate supervisor for each officer, and records showing communication directing the officers to their locations.
     7.  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.
     8.  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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.    
     9.  It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

     10. It is found that the respondents conducted a diligent search for any responsive records. Although the final package of records was not delivered to the complainant until February 19, 2013, it is found that the response was reasonably prompt under the circumstances, given that the respondents first attempted to solicit from the complainant the particular documents he was looking for, and then necessarily devoted significant time to searching and culling of documents in order to respond to the request.
     11. It is concluded that the respondents 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.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 24, 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:
Owen Chace
70 Manor Street
Hamden, CT  06517
Chief, Police Department, Town of Hamden;
and Police Department, Town of Hamden
c/o Susan Gruen, Esq.
Office of the Town Attorney
2750 Dixwell Avenue
Hamden, CT  06518

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC/2012-683/FD/cac/7/24/2013