|What is the California Public Records Act?
In 1968, the California Legislature enacted the California Public Records Act (CPRA) under Government Code (GC) sections 6250-6270. In its findings and declarations, mindful of the right of individuals' privacy, the Legislature declared it was the publics’ right to access information concerning the peoples’ business.
|What is a Public Record?
As defined in the Public Records Act, GC 6252 "public records include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics."
Based on this definition, the report of crimes and incidents written in the course of business of a law enforcement agency are public records and subject to release under CPRA with some exemptions.
|Who can initiate a Public Records request?
Any person can make a Public Records request. However public disclosure is regulated by several different statutes dependent upon on the record. Such resources are Government Code 6250 et .seq. and 34090.6, Welfare and Institutions Code 827, California Vehicle Code 20012, Penal Code 841.5, 293, 11167.5 and 13300.
What types of records are available?
Law Enforcement personnel must be aware of and apply the legal exemptions to the release of some information to protect individual privacy, safety and reputation.
Government Code 6254 and Exemptions
How to make a Public Records Act Request
The rights under the CPRA provide for the inspection of public records or to obtain copies of identifiable records, it does not compel the agency to create lists or reports in response to the request.
Under Government Code 6253(b), Agencies may charge for the "direct costs" for providing copies of an identifiable record.
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