Posts Tagged 'FOIAing 911'

Records Request Reply

So, 29 days after I asked the Dane County 911 Center for internal e-mails mentioning the Brittany Zimmermann incident, I received this reply. It spills onto the third page, so if you don’t want to read it all I understand (blogs have spoiled me for reading Walls Of Text), and I’m pulling out the interesting parts here.

First sign of trouble: I made the request directly to Joe Norwick, since the Dane County 911 website does not list an open records custodian (side note, the information currently on that website has been revised as of May 28, 2008 and looks much better now than it did a month ago), and my request was answered by Marcia MacKenzie, Dane County Corporation Counsel. Lawyers already?

Next sign of trouble: As the public documents that I am seeking access to are e-mails, that is the format I requested to receive them in. However, Marcia MacKenzie wants to print off all 116 pages responsive to my request ($0.25/page = 29.00) and mail them to me ($4.80) for a total of $33.80. Not a lot of money, but that’s not the point. This seems to me to be a violation of statute 19.35(3)(a) which states that fees “may not exceed the actual, necessary and direct cost of reproduction and transcription of the record”. It is neither actual or necessary to print off and mail these documents – e-mail will work just fine. I presume that the desire to print off the documents stems from

Yet more trouble: the desire to redact information from the publics eye. While I understand and am sympathetic to keeping details of an on-going police investigation on a need to know basis (until the investigation is closed, of course), I have difficulty imagining how 911 Center internal e-mails might affect the search for Brittney Zimmermann’s murderer.

According to this letter, Marcia MacKenzie has

“considered all relevant factors and balanced the public interests in disclosure versus the public interests in non-disclosure and have carefully reviewed all relevent statutory exemptions. It is my conclusion that the public interest in non-disclosure of the redacted or withheld information far outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

Thank goodness there is someone in county government looking out for the poor, stupid public that wouldn’t know how to handle information if they ever got any!

Ugh, I’m starting to create my own Wall of Text here, and frankly I am too annoyed to continue for the moment. More when I get the taste of bile out of my throat.

Madison is not the only city with a troubled 911 center…

Lake Havasu in Arizona appears to be having some difficulties too.

I sure hope that no one at the Dane County 911 center has been destroying or altering public records in order to hide evidence of wrong doing. I should be able to tell you soon, since I finally received a reply to my open records request regarding internal e-mails on the Brittney Zimmermann case.

Read the letter I received (helpfully e-mailed with no subject line, thus landing it in my spam box for a few days) here. I haven’t read it thoroughly yet myself; come back for my thoughts soon!

No news on my end…

… but Badger Blogger has got the goods! I just knew there would be some interesting e-mail about how the Brittany Zimmermann 911 call went down.

HT Forward Our Motto.

News from the 911 Center?

Nothing yet. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Open Records statute does not identify a time in which a public entity must respond to records requests by, stating only “as soon as practicable and without delay”. Not surprisingly, the 911 Center has not seen it to be “as soon as practicable” to respond to my request for their internal communications about the incident yet.

It’s not like I want heads to roll over something that it’s too late to fix, but I’m really, really interested to hear what sort of repercussions there are for the 911 dispatcher who failed to dispatch anyone, and what is on the table to make sure this sort of thing never happens again. I’ll keep updating here as things develop.

Meanwhile, County Executive Kathleen Falk has acknowledged that the system didn’t work like it should” for Brittany Zimmermann. Um, no kidding.

H/T Fraley.