Jul 27, 2014

Fairfield Police Get B- on Register's FOI Test

The New Haven Register's investigative report was done as part of Sunshine Week.

Fairfield Police Get B- on Register's FOI Test
It's Sunshine Week and a regional newspaper is shedding light on how police departments throughout Connecticut fare when it comes to compliance with the Freedom of Information law.

In its investigative report published March 19, the New Haven Register gave the Fairfield Police Department a B minus.

A summary of The Register's findings for the Fairfield Police Department follows:

"Basic arrest information accessible at department but no in-depth reports and no arrests online. We were asked to identify ourselves."
  • Arrest log available on demand:? Yes
  • In-depth report available? No
  • Asked reporter to identify himself/herself? Yes
  • Does dept. charge for copies? Would have been charged for copies.
  • Arrest info online? No
Fairfield Police Respond

At Patch's request, Fairfield Deputy Police Chief Chris Lyddy provided the following statement:

There are no immediate plans to make any changes regarding the release of records by the Fairfield Police Department. Our records policy is in compliance with Section 1-215 of the CGS.  

Our records officers and public information officers attend annual training on FOI matters. This training is usually conducted by the FOI Commission. 

Our records department is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reports that do not contain exempted information are available for .50 cents per page. This rate is set by CT. General Statutes. 

Currently, we offer accident reports online and we continue to explore options to make other types of reports available online. In addition, we conduct press briefings Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. through our office of Public Information. 

When an individual requests a report, we do ask for a name for the sole purpose of providing a receipt to the requester. The individual is not required to give a name or show identification.

The Fairfield Police Department continually strives to maintain transparency and compliance with FOI requests. Simultaneously, we honor our statutory obligation to protect the identity of victims of sexual assault and juveniles.

Dive Deeper

What's Sunshine Week?

According to the Sunshine Week website, the effort was started in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors and is now coordinated in partnership with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

"But freedom of information isn’t just a press issue," the organization states. "It is a cornerstone of democracy, enlightening and empowering people to play an active role in their government at all levels. It helps keep public officials honest, makes government more efficient and provides a check against abuse of power."

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