from: Sunshine Request <[email protected]>
to: Liz Harper <[email protected]>
date: Jul 2, 2021, 3:48 PM
subject: Re: Records Request: (June 2021) Request for Asheville, NC Police Department 2021 roster as of 05/24/21
Thank you for your reply!
I would like to ask for a bit of additional clarification –
On January 06, 2021 the City fulfilled a similar request from Dec. 2020 which called for:
“… first, middle, and last names (and suffix where applicable) of all active sworn officers of the Asheville Police Department (APD)” as of “12/16/20 (or the date the query is performed).”
In that case, you had indicated that:
“Below is a link to a list of the names of all sworn APD officers (as of January 5, 2021). Our records only indicate a middle initial for employees. Pursuant to NCGS 160A-168 (c1)(3) the identifying information for any undercover officers has been removed.
Related to our current request — “… list of all Asheville Police Officers employed by the department during the specific time period of 01/01/21 through 05/24/21 (or on the date the query is performed).” — You’ve indicated that:
“The City does not have a record that is responsive to this request for information. As outlined in N.C. General Statute § 132-6.2 (e), we are not required to create a record that does not exist. Let me know if you have any questions.”
For users on our site I just want to note where this is cited more fully under NC Public Records Law:
“(a) Persons requesting copies of public records may elect to obtain them in any and all media in which the public agency is capable of providing them. No request for copies of public records in a particular medium shall be denied on the grounds that the custodian has made or prefers to make the public records available in another medium. The public agency may assess different fees for different media as prescribed by law.”
“(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a public agency to respond to a request for a copy of a public record by creating or compiling a record that does not exist. If a public agency, as a service to the requester, voluntarily elects to create or compile a record, it may negotiate a reasonable charge for the service with the requester. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a public agency to put into electronic medium a record that is not kept in electronic medium. (1995, c. 388, s. 3; 2004-129, s. 38.)”
Specifically — I want to note the piece that says you’re not required to put public records into an electronic medium, if they do not already exist in that format.
I am a bit confused though, as your recent response suggests the requested records don’t have to be provided either because they A) do not exist, and / or B) maybe exist but are not already in an electronic format? If that’s what you’re saying, then that’s fine. I’m just not clear. Please confirm.
However, since you were already able to fulfill a similar request with records running through Jan. 05, it is unclear how records for the new timeline requested (“01/01/21 through 05/24/21”) could “not exist. There is overlap in those dates.
What has changed in the City’s process for providing responsive records to this particular type of request?
Thank you for your assistance!