Freedom of Information no longer free at Little Rock Police Department | Arkansas Blog

Freedom of Information no longer free at Little Rock Police Department


Announcement from LRPD:

Starting today’s date there will be a charge for anyone who files a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with the Little Rock Police department and the documents requested require a CD or disk to be generated. The fee will be $3.00 per disk. This will include 911 calls or radio traffic, video footage from patrol vehicles (MVR) and surveillance footage. This also will include when any large amount of documents (such as a case file) are requested. The CD will still be at the desk officer and the fee will be paid at the records window just to the right of the front desk.
It is probably only coincidental that blogger Russ Racop, a candidate for Little Rock City Board, has papered (digitaled?) the LRPD with FOI requests in pursuit of a generally critical view of the department's work. They aren't the only objects of his information requests.

The FOI allows reasonable fees for production of materials. A CD holds a lot of information.  I'm not immediately inclined to think ill of the policy. Other public officials and agencies have attempted to use outlandish fees to discourage FOI requests (remember you, Secretary of State Mark Martin).

UPDATE: Blue Hog Report thinks VERY ill of the policy and outlines why he thinks it violates the FOI law in the new charge. He makes one key point that I often mention to people seeking records. The law allows you to INSPECT records. The state may not insist that the records be provided as copies that they must first make and perhaps charge for. And they must be made available promptly. You can bring your own copying device to copy them. Think thumbdrive. Blue Hog cites the Fort Smith Police Department, with which he's warred in lawsuits, for a better way — putting documents in cloud storage for easy and free access.

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