TPD Records Policy
Policy # 300 - Records
To establish policy and procedures for the documentation, safeguarding, and retention of police reports.
It is the policy of the Trinidad Police Department to report and record all official action taken in response to a citizen’s report of an incident or request for service, or of an employee’s self-initiated action. These reports shall be the result of, but not limited to, reports by citizens of crimes; citizen requests for service; criminal and non-criminal cases initiated by law enforcement officers; and incidents involving arrests, citations or summonses. Members shall treat the official records of the department as confidential.
- Terminology used in this policy is defined in C.R.S. sections 24-72-202 and 24-72-302
IV. Procedures - Records Generation/Storage
- All persons completing departmental reports shall strive for accuracy and completeness.
- All personnel assigned/dispatched to investigate an incident or who initiate official police action shall create a record of their investigation or action. This may be done by documenting CAD or by completing a police report.
- Police reports will be completed and stored in the records management system.
- Officers will strive to complete their reports in a timely manner according to established priorities.
- Supervisors will review reports for completeness and accuracy. Should a report need corrections, the supervisor will reject the report to the reporting officer with notes on what corrections are needed. After corrections are made, the reporting officer will resubmit the report for review.
- Supplemental reports are to be completed by officers assisting the reporting officer with the report. Supplemental reports will also be completed if additional information is provided after the initial report has been completed.
- Only reports marked as “Final Approved” are considered complete and ready for release.
- All Department forms and copies of forms and reports that are of no further value to the Department shall be destroyed.
- Copies of Department reports or other official correspondence, (including but not limited to internal memos, BOLO’s, NCIC/CCIC printouts, Criminal History reports, background checks, officer notes, photos, etc) that are to be destroyed shall be shredded. Any issues should be brought to the attention of the City Attorney.
V. Procedures – Release of Records
- The Chief of Police is the official Custodian of all records of the Trinidad Police Department pursuant to sections 24-72-203(1), 24-72-303(1) and 24-72-304(1) of the Colorado Revised Statutes. The responsibility for administering these guidelines is delegated to the Administrative Assistants under the guidance of the Chief of Police.
- Requests for Inspection or Copying
- Written Requests – The request to inspect or copy records must be in writing so that a record exists of the request and to avoid duplication of effort. A copy of the written request will be kept on file.
- Identification of requesting person – Identification shall be required of any person requesting or receiving records in order to avoid improper disclosures.
- Identification of information sought – Any request for records must be made with sufficient particularity that the correct file may be identified. Under no circumstances may the requesting person review various files in order to find the records sought. When the Custodian locates the file requested, the file should be examined to determine if the information sought is contained therein. If so, it should be separated from the other information in the file before it is released.
- Fees – The Custodian shall inform the applicant of the fees to be charged for search, retrieval and copying of records. Fees will be paid to an officer or the Administrative Assistant. Monies will be kept in a bank bag in the locked office of the Administrative Assistant. A written receipt will be given to the individual receiving the copy. A duplicate copy of the receipt will be retained by the department for tracking purposes. Monthly, the Administrative Assistant will deliver monies to City Hall for deposit into the appropriate bank account.
- Supervision – Inspection shall be supervised by the Custodian or a designee. Care should be taken to prevent any person from removing, destroying, concealing or damaging any record during such inspection.
- Unavailability – If the requested records are not available at the Police Department, the Custodian shall notify the requesting person, in writing if so requested. The notice shall state in detail the reason for the absence of the records, their location and what person has custody of the records (CRS 24-72-304(2)).
- Records in use or storage – If the requested records are in active use or in storage and therefore not available at the time an applicant asks to inspect them, the Custodian shall notify the requesting person, in writing if so requested. If requested, the custodian shall set a date and hour within three working days at which time the records will be available for inspection (CRS 24-72-303(3)).
- Copies – If copies, printouts or photographs are requested, they shall be provided for a reasonable fee unless actual costs exceed that amount or specific fees for certified copies are prescribed by law (CRS 24-72-205(1), -306). Actual costs may include the costs of personnel, equipment and the search, retrieval, and copying of records.
- If data is requested in a form not normally generated by the City, the fee shall be based on the actual cost of manipulating said data and generating the requested record.
- Persons making subsequent requests for the same or similar records may be charged the same fee as the person originally requesting the records.
- If the requested record is the result of computer output other than word processing, the fee for a copy, printout, or photograph may be based on the actual incremental costs of providing the electronic services and products together with a reasonable portion of the City’s overhead in maintaining the data processing system.
- Such fees may be reduced or waived by the Custodian if the records will be used for a public purpose, including public agency program support, nonprofit activities, journalism and academic research. Such fee reductions and waivers shall be uniformly applied among persons who are similarly situated. (CRS 24-72-205(3),(4)).
- Denial of inspection – If the Custodian denies access to any criminal justice record, the applicant may request a written statement of the grounds for the denial, which statement shall be provided to the applicant within seventy-two hours, and cite the law or regulation under which access is denied or the general nature of the public interest to be protected by the denial. An arbitrary or capricious denial of a record may result in the Custodian being responsible for payment of the claimant’s costs and attorney’s fees as well as being penalized by the district court at the rate of $25/day until the documents are released. The Custodian can also be charged with a misdemeanor for either disclosing or refusing to disclose information willfully and knowingly under the statute (CRS 24-72-305(7), -309).
- If inspection of certain records is permitted to one member of the media, it shall be allowed to all such media (CRS 24-72-204(2)(b)). The media shall have no greater right of access to records than does the general public.
- Sealed or Expunged Records – If a request is made to inspect records sealed or expunged pursuant to court order, the Custodian shall respond that no such records exist with respect to such person. Sealed or expunged records may be inspected only pursuant to a court order permitting such inspection (CRS 24-72-308).
- Other Agencies – If the Police Department has within its custody originals or copies of records of other agencies, such records shall not be released. The person requesting such records shall either obtain the records from the originating agency or obtain that agency’s written consent to allow the Police Department to release the records.
- Compilations of nonexempt information – There is no implied duty under Colorado law to separate exempt from nonexempt data in a particular record. However, in order to provide as much information to the public as is reasonably possible, consistent with law enforcement objectives, a reasonable attempt will be made by the Department to separate and delete exempt information, in the discretion of the Custodian, and provide important records to the public. Whether special efforts should be made to compile nonexempt data depends upon the availability of personnel and other resources within the Department to perform such efforts.
- Parties to civil litigation and prosecutions – If records are subpoenaed or requested by parties to civil litigation or a prosecution, the release of such records shall be subject to all guidelines contained in this policy unless a court orders the Custodian to release records that would not otherwise be disclosable under the Public Records Act or the Criminal Justice Records Act.
- Litigants can make Open Records Act requests of documents, records, or information even if directly or indirectly connected with the litigation without having to resort to the rules of civil discovery procedure.
- If records have been released to the prosecutor, the defendant shall request discovery from the prosecutor pursuant to Rule 16 of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure or Rule 216 of the Colorado Rules of Municipal Court Procedure. If records have not been released to the prosecutor, then the Custodian shall consider any request by the defendant under the guidelines set forth herein.
- Correction of inaccurate records – A person in interest may challenge the accuracy and completeness of records concerning him/her.
- A written request shall be made by the person in interest to the Custodian to make changes to the records.
- The Custodian should reply in writing to the person in interest within 30 days of whether the request is granted or denied in whole or in part.
- The Custodian shall make a reasonable effort to investigate the basis for the request.
- If the Custodian is satisfied that the requested changes would not increase the accuracy and completeness of the records, then there will be no obligation to make the changes unless so ordered by a court (CRS 24-72-307).
- Retention of Records – The Custodian shall retain records in compliance with the directives set forth by the state archivist and legislature (CRS 24-80-101 et seq).
- Dispatch Tapes – The Trinidad Police Communications Center is the official custodian for all dispatch tapes for the Trinidad Police Department. Persons requesting copies of dispatch tapes will directed to the Communications Center directly.
- Deletion of Restricted Information – Anytime a record containing restricted information is to be released; all restricted information on the copy to be released will be redacted.
- Public Records (Does not include Criminal Justice Records)
- Public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times except as defined in C.R.S. 27–22–203 (2).
- Protective Custody (DETOX) – Inspection of records concerning the emergency commitment of intoxicated persons (DETOX) by law enforcement authorities may not be allowed, as this is a taking of the person into protective custody and not an arrest (CRS 25-1-310(1)).
- Criminal Justice Records – The following records shall be open for inspection by the public, subject to the regulations set out above and as defined in C.R.S. 24-72-301.
- Child Abuse and Neglect Records
- Any person named in the report or record who was alleged as a child to be abused or neglected or, if the child named in the report or record is a minor or is otherwise incompetent at the time of the request, his guardian ad-litem;
- A parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person responsible for the health or welfare of a child named in a report, with protection for the identity of informants and other appropriate persons (even if the parent, etc, is the suspect);
- A court, upon its finding that access to such records may be necessary for determination of an issue before such court, but such access shall be limited to in camera inspection unless the court determines that public disclosure of the information contained therein is necessary for the resolution of an issue then pending before it;
- All members of a child protection team;
- Such other persons as a court may determine, for good cause
- The state department, a county department, or a child placement agency investigating an applicant for a license to operate a child care facility or family care home pursuant to section 26-6-107 CRS, when the applicant, as a requirement of the license application, has given written authorization to the licensing authority to obtain reports of abuse or to review the state central registry of child protection.
- Only law enforcement officers may inspect the required registration form of any sex offenders who, upon conviction or parole on or after July 1, 1991, are required to register with the local law enforcement agency of their residence within five (5) days of acquiring that residency (CRS 18-3-412.5).
- Juvenile Law Enforcement Records CRS 19-1-304
- Except as otherwise provided in this section, law enforcement records concerning persons under the age of 18 years (“Juveniles”), including identifying information, shall be identified as juvenile records and are Confidential and shall not be inspected by or disclosed to the public, (CRS 19-1-304(1)(a)): except as allowed by statute.
- Victims of Domestic Violence and Violations of Restraining Orders
a. The names and addresses of said victims are not to be released to the press and/or public. This information must be deleted out of the report prior to release. This information can only be released to the following: law enforcement, courts, district attorney and the victim (CRS 18-6-803.5 (1)(e))
- A written request may be submitted to the office of the Chief of Police and/or his designee for the public to inspect the departmental list of registered sex offenders. The only information allowed to be viewed is the offender’s name, registered address, conviction date and conviction (CRS 16-22-103). Upon completion of the requestor’s viewing of the sex offender list, the list shall be attached to the written request. This list shall not leave the custody of the department. The written requests to view the sex offender registration list are not public record and cannot be released for viewing (CRS 16-22-109(4)).
- The Administrative Assistant will ensure that all required information is entered into the National Incident Based Reporting System on a monthly basis.