Public Records Request
Prompt inspection of public records
Upon request, copies of public records will be provided within a reasonable amount of time.
Upon request, receiving copies of records by mail.
Receiving copies in the medium specified, so long as it is available in the public office’s normal business operations.
The Department Clerk and Dispatcher at St. Bernard Police Department, work Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM with the exception of holidays. During those hours, you can request a copy of a public record from them in several ways: telephone us at 242-2727, send a letter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just stop in the St. Bernard Police Department between those hours to make a request. To process your request, the clerk will need some information from you: date, type of records request (I.e. Police Incident Report, Accident Report etc.), type of medium, reason for request etc. The Clerk will then locate your record, and copy it for you.
What are the costs?
Those seeking public records will be charged only the actual cost of making copies. The charge for paper copies is 5 cents per page. The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1 per disc. There is no charge for documents e-mailed. Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. They will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies. If a photo or tape or other medium is requested we will charge whatever our actual costs are for those items and nothing more.
Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. “Prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested. Normally this will take place within a few business days.
Are there public records that are exempt from a public records request?
Yes, some items are specifically listed as exemptions from the Public Records Act. These include the following:
Trial Preparation Records
Confidential Law Enforcement Investigatory Records
Other Exceptions (Abortion records, Adoption Records, Putative Father Records, Civil Rights Commission Records, DNA Database Records, Rehabilitation and Correction Youth Services Records, Intellectual Property Records, Donor Profile Records, Department of Human Services Records, Peace Officer Information, County Hospital’s Trade Secrets etc.
Documents in electronic mail format are records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code when their content relates to the business of the office. E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules. Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure, and all employees or representatives of this office are instructed to retain their e-mails that relate to public business (see Section 1 Public Records) and to copy them to their business e-mail accounts and/or to the office’s records custodian. The records custodian is to treat the e-mails from private accounts as records of the public office, filing them in the appropriate way, retaining them per established schedules and making them available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.
The St. Bernard Police Department recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to commonly may cause, the St. Bernard Police Department’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering the St. Bernard Police Department to comply with the law and to pay the requester attorney’s fees and damages.