Governmental collaborative to create an efficient and non-duplicative way of providing cost effective and efficient response to public safety emergency services, including the dispatch of emergency police, fire, and medical services within Kalamazoo County.
Section 1 - Right to Records:
A person has the right to public record from the Kalamazoo County Consolidated Dispatch Authority (KCCDA). A request must be in writing or by completion of the FOIA Request Form (attached to this policy – 01.04a FOIA Request Form) and sufficiently describe the public record to enable the Coordinator or Co-Coordinator to identify the requested public record.
A person has the right to inspect a public record, or receive copies of requested recordings, unless exempted by law or court order. KCCDA shall protect public records from loss, unauthorized alteration, mutilation, or destruction. A person may request that copies of a public record be provided subject to the payment of fees outlined in Section 3.
Section 2 – Rights and Obligations of KCCDA
KCCDA shall provide a copy of a public record if a person so requests in writing. It is the policy of KCCDA to record radio transmissions and telephone lines (incoming and outgoing) as part of KCCDA’s normative operations. These recordings are stored and archived for 365 days from the date of the original recording in accordance with KCCDA’s Records Retention Policy. KCCDA shall keep a copy of all written FOIA requests on file for no less than one year.
FOIA does not require KCCDA to make a compilation, summary, report of information, or create a new public record. This exemption includes analyzing, compiling, or summarizing existing information into a new format. KCCDA is not obligated to provide answers to oral or written questions.
Section 3 – Provisions for Copying Public Records
All FOIA requests submitted pursuant to the Act shall be subject to the fees and charges outlined in this section. Fees shall be limited to actual mailing costs and to the actual incremental cost of duplication or publications including labor, the cost of the search, examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information.
KCCDA may charge a fee for the labor involved with searching for, examining, and reviewing a public record as permitted by the Act. Charges for labor costs will be estimated and charged in 15-minute increments, with all partial time increments rounded down. If the time involved is less than 15 minutes, there will be no charge for completeing the FOIA request. Each additional 15 minute increment will cost a flat rate of $8.
Where total fees and charges are reasonably anticipated to exceed Fifty Dollars ($50.00), KCCDA requires that fifty percent of the estimated fees and charges be paid in advance of the performance of the work as authorized by the Act. The balance must be paid prior to the release of documents.
A search for a public record may be conducted or copies of public records may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the Coordinator determines that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest.
A public record search shall be made and a copy of a public record shall be furnished without charge for the first $20.00 of the fee for each request by an individual who is entitled to information under this Act and who submits an affidavit stating the individual is then receiving public assistance or, if not receiving public assistance, stating facts showing inability to pay the cost due to indigence.
Section 4 – Procedures for KCCDA in Processing FOIA Requests
After a person has made a written request for a public record in accordance with the Act, KCCDA shall respond within five (5) business days after its receipt. A written request made by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic transmission is not considered received by KCCDA until one (1) business day after the electronic transmission is made. KCCDA will then process the request in one of three ways:
1) Grant the request.
If the request generates fees of $50 or less, KCCDA will forward notification to the requestor indicating the amount due and where the documents or recordings may be released.
If the request generates fees of $50 or more, KCCDA will require fifty percent of the estimated charges be paid in advance of the performance of the work. The balance must be paid prior to the release of documents or recordings.
2) Issue a written notice denying the request. The notice of the denial shall include:
An explanation as to why the requested public record is exempt from disclosure in accordance with the Act, or
An explanation that the requested public record does not exist, or
An explanation or general description of information which had to be separated or deleted from the public record.
In addition to the explanations noted above, the denial shall also include an explanation of the person’s right to appeal the denial to the KCCDA Governing Board of Directors or seek judicial review in accordance with the Act.
3) Grant the request in part, and issue a written notice denying the request in part. In the latter instance, the public records exempted from disclosure shall be treated as in (2) above.
If a request is received which does not sufficiently describe the public records requested to enable KCCDA to locate the records, KCCDA will notify the requester for a clarification. Such notice, if sent, shall not be interpreted as a denial of the request for purposes of the Act or this Policy.
Section 5 – Procedures for Separation of Records
If a request is made for an existing public record that includes information which is exempt from disclosure under the Act and information which is not exempt, the FOIA Coordinator must separate the material and make the nonexempt material available for examination and/or copying. Additionally, KCCDA shall describe the material which had to be separated, unless doing so would reveal the contents of the exempt information and thus defeat the purpose of the exemption.
Section 6 – Designation of FOIA Coordinator
The FOIA Coordinator for KCCDA shall be the Executive Director. In addition, the Deputy Director, Executive Administrative Assistant, and Dispatch Supervisors shall be authorized to act as Co-Coordinators. The FOIA Coordinator and Co-Coordinators shall be responsible to accept and process requests for public records and approve denials in accordance with Sections 5 (4) and (5) of the Act. Only the Coordinator and/or Co-Coordinators shall duplicate or in any way reproduce any radio traffic or telephone call and are designated as official “keepers of the record”
Emergency Communication Officers are allowed to retrieve and listen to radio traffic and telephone calls on a limited basis utilizing KCCDA’s recording system located at each dispatch console on the LAN Computer. This shall only be utilized to clarify communications. Dispatch Supervisors can retrieve and listen to the recordings to clarify communications and for quality assurance purposes. Other than these circumstances, no one shall be allowed to replay, or in any other way listen to recordings unless otherwise agreed to in a memorandum of understanding or other such agreement.
Section 7 – Appeals
In accordance with the Act, where a person’s request for a public record is denied, in whole or in part, the person shall be entitled to file a written appeal on the decision in accordance with the following process:
1) The person shall be advised by KCCDA of the right to file a written appeal to the KCCDA Governing Board of Directors which shall specifically state the word “appeal” and identify the reason(s) for reversal of the denial.
2) When a written appeal is received by KCCDA in accordance with the Act, KCCDA shall do one of the following:
Place the appeal on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled Governing Board of Directors meeting, or
Request that a special meeting be scheduled to consider the appeal.
3) In its consideration of any appeal, the Governing Board of Directors shall review the materials submitted by the appellant, any written comments received from the Coordinator or Co-Coordinator, and any other information as the Board deems necessary and within ten (10) business days after receiving the appeal, take one of the following actions:
Reverse the disclosure denial, or
Issue a written notice to the requesting person affirming the disclosure denial, or
Reverse the disclosure denial in part and issue a written notice to the requesting person affirming the denial in part.
The appellant may choose to commence an action in the Circuit Court to compel the public body’s disclosure of the public records within 180 days after the KCCDA’s determination to deny a request.
Operational Policy and Procedure
01.03 - Freedom of Information Act - Public Records