Public Records Policy

82.05.1

 

VILLAGE OF FAIRFAX

RECORDS RELEASE POLICY

 

A.        Applicability:

 

This policy is intended to implement the requirements of Ohio law in connection with the maintenance and release of public records. Accordingly, Ohio Revised Code section 149.43 is hereby incorporated into this policy. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to conflict with Ohio Revised Code section 149.43, or other applicable law. Where a conflict      arises between this policy and applicable Ohio law, Ohio law shall control. Determinations of which records the Village of Fairfax shall maintain are made by the Records Commission of the Village of Fairfax in accordance with the guidelines set forth by Ohio law, and are not covered by this policy.

B.        Procedure:

 

1.         Availability:

 

a.         As set forth in Ohio Revised Code section 149.43, all public records shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at reasonable times during regular business hours. In accordance with Ohio Revised Code section 149.43, upon request, an employee who is authorized to do so, shall make copies available at the established cost, within a reasonable amount of time.

 

(1)        Established costs or fees charged under this policy shall be clearly posted and visible to the public to the extent practicable.

 

(2)        What constitutes a reasonable amount of time shall depend, at least in part, on the legitimate manpower and staffing needs of the Village of Fairfax.

 

  1. The regular business hours for the Village of Fairfax are from 9AM to 5:00 PM hours, Monday through Friday.

 

(1)        The staffing of requests for public records may vary according to scheduled or unscheduled time off of the Village of Fairfax staff, manpower needs, or emergencies. Therefore, there may be occasions when the Records Section may close earlier than 5:00 PM.

  1. If a citizen allegedly is aggrieved by the failure of an employee of the Village of Fairfax to promptly prepare a public record maintained by the village in accordance with the Records Retention Schedule approved by the Records Commission, the citizen shall:

 

(1)               First, make contact with the department head and advise them of their complaint.

 

(2)        Second, if necessary, request a meeting with the Village Administrator or the Police Chief depending on what record was requested. If the citizen is not satisfied with the results, they shall be requested to place their complaint into written form and it shall be forwarded to the Mayor’s office for reconciliation.

 

(3)        Third, if necessary, pursue any remedies pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 149.43.

 

2.         Confidential Law Enforcement Investigatory Records

 

a.         No employee of the Village of Fairfax is authorized to release any   public

record maintained by the police department which contains information  that is classified as a Confidential Law Enforcement Investigatory Record or is exempted from public release by state or federal law.

 

b.         Confidential law enforcement record means any record defined as such at any relevant time under Ohio Revised Code section 149.43. Currently, by way of example, such records are defined as records that pertain to a law enforcement matter of a criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, or administrative nature, but only to the extent that the release of the record would create a high probability of disclosure of any of the following:

 

(1)        The identity of a suspect who has not been charged with the offense to which the record pertains, or of an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised.

 

(2)        Information provided by an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised, which information would reasonably tend to disclose his or her identity.

 

(3)        Specific confidential investigatory techniques or procedures or specific investigatory work product.

 

(4)        Information that would endanger the life or physical safety of a law enforcement personnel, a crime victim, a witness, or a confidential information source.

 

  1. Police Records

 

All request for police records will be handled in accordance with the Fairfax Police Departments Standard Operating Procedure Manual.

 

4.         Access:

 

a.         Village Records Section.

 

(1)        All requests for public documents maintained by the Village of Fairfax shall be directed initially to the Clerk-Treasurer.

 

(a)        All persons requesting to review, and/or to gain copies of public records shall be requested to place their request in writing on a form provided by the Village of Fairfax.

 

(b)               If the requesting person refuses to place the request in writing the employee of the Village of Fairfax shall complete the form by asking the requesting person for the required information.

 

(c)        No person shall be refused access to public records based on their refusal to submit a written request for the records.

 

5.         Video, Audio Tapes and Photographs:

 

a.         The Village of Fairfax maintains a limited storage of audio and video tapes under guidelines established by the Records Commission.

 

b.         Persons requesting copies of these records are required to furnish blank recording tapes of sufficient quality to allow reproduction of the requested material.

                                    c.         Costs shall be reasonable, and shall be determined by the nature of the request. Persons requesting photographs pursuant to this policy shall be charged only the actual cost incurred by the Department for reproduction of the photographs.

 

6.         A.D.A. Compliance:

 

a.         The Village of Fairfax shall facilitate all requests made by all citizens regardless of handicap or disabilities. Employees of the Village of Fairfax, authorized to release public records, shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that no one is denied access to public information on the basis of handicap or disability.

 

b.         The Village of Fairfax shall follow all standards and guidelines established by local, state and federal laws or mandates, as it pertains to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other applicable laws.