How About Some Public Records?

by Staff on October 7, 2006 · 3 comments

in Local

Under Indiana Code 5-14-3, the Indiana Access to Public Records Act states that:

“…it is the public policy of the state that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees. Providing persons with the information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officials and employees, whose duty it is to provide the information. This chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy and place the burden of proof for the nondisclosure of a public record on the public agency that would deny access to the record and not on the person seeking to inspect and copy the record.”

Less than an hour ago, I hand delivered a request under the APRA to an employee of the Mitchell Police Department. The request is addressed to the head of the Police Department, Chief Michael T. Hardman. My request states, in part:

…I would like to inspect and obtain a copy of the following public records:

  • salaries and stipends of any employees of the Mitchell Police Department, including, but not limited to, officers, dispatchers, and any other staff,
  • documents detailing maintenance expenses of Department-owned vehicles,
  • documents detailing miles driven, gallons of gasoline used, and maintenance expenses for any vehicles used or owned by the Mitchell Police Department between January 1, 2006 and September 30, 2006, and
  • the Police Department vacation schedule sheets showing all Police vacations from January 1, 2006 through September 30, 2006.

They have 24 hours to “respond”, which can mean as little as contacting me to acknowledge receipt of my request. If deemed a legitimate request under the APRA, they have a “reasonable” amount of time to produce records. Unfortunately, there is no definition of “reasonable” by statute.

Anyone interested in seeing these? Or other public records from our local governments, for that matter? I’d be happy to draft the requests and hand deliver them to the appropriate officials, just let me know what you’d to know about.

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