Let freedom ring

Freedom of information, that is.

I recently gave an update on my experience using the Maine Freedom of Information Access Act. On two separate occasions I got stonewalled by some Lieutenant who was not familiar with the act (nor with humility). Eventually, the city manager gave me the information. A couple of days later I got this (emphasis added).

Dear Mr. Hawkins:

I have been advised you have made contact twice this week with Lt. J. Chris Read requesting copies of any disciplinary action taken against Officer Richard Dubois. I am now aware that you made your first request on Monday, Mark 9th and returned on Wednesday, March 11th. Each time you received a verbal denial from Lt. Read advising that the information you were requesting is confidential as personnel records are confidential.

I must apologize that as you are aware, should there be a final written decision relating to a disciplinary action taken against an employee, that information is not confidential and you would have a right to access of that information. Your request should have been handled differently and following a review of the individual’s personnel file, you should have been advised that there are no disciplinary action documents in the file. I have personally checked the officer’s personnel file and can state that there are no disciplinary documents of any kind in the file.

As a result of how your request for information was handled by a member of my staff, I have undertaken a review of our procedures pertaining to public access to records. All Police Supervisors are to review our Standard Operating Procedure, Public Access to Records, to ensure that a request for information is handled properly.

Again, there is no information pertaining to disciplinary action regarding Officer Richard Dubois to provide to you per your request. I am truly sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced.

Sincerely

Chief Wayne M McCamish

Quality response. This covers the department from the $500 fine to which Lt. Read potentially subjected them since it covers both my requests within 5 business days of receiving them. While it would have been interesting to see the whole process of a fine being assessed to either the police department or the city itself, I’m far happier to see that the law was followed correctly. Regardless, I’ve contacted a local paper to see if they’re interested in having me write this story for them (I’ve written for them in the past [usually about local hiking]).

One Response

  1. Michael. This was awesome. Well done!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: