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Are the Scottsdale Police shaking down people for money?

by F*ck the Scottsdale Police Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Requests for 25 pages or less of public records are supposed to be free

I think the Scottsdale Police Department is now answering EVERY request for public records with a CD so they can shake down the requester for instead of giving them the 25 pages of public data for free as a new Scottsdale law requires.

I made a request for public records to the Scottsdale PD. I made it by snail mail, because in the past when I made public records requests by email I only got the runaround from the Scottsdale Police, and I never have received any of the requests for public records I have asked for.

My friend Grey Staples died a little over a year ago in Scottsdale and I just made a request for public records on his death.

He was found dead in his apartment. I suspect he had a heart attack or perhaps committed suicide.

The Scottsdale Police sent me back a letter saying they had to put my request for public records on a CD because it was too long. They didn't say how long it was. They didn't actually send me the CD, nor did they tell me what I had to do to get a copy of the CD.

I suspect the request was less then 25 pages, so they decided to instead put the request on a CD so they could shake me down for when they sold me the CD.

I suspect they didn't tell me how many pages long of data they had because if it was 25 pages or less and they lied about it that might make them sounds like a bunch of crooked cops.

I will go back to my PO box today or tomorrow and get the letter and see if my guess is true. And if it is you will be hearing nothing but bitching from me for then next few weeks about the crooked Scottsdale cops.

Source

September 26, 2011 |

Opinions

2 municipalities keep access open

Sept. 26, 2011 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

Information wants to be free, goes a modern credo. Two northeast Valley communities are putting it into practice.

- Scottsdale's truly public records. Scottsdale has established a model for openness. Other cities and government agencies should follow its example.

The City Council this month approved a fee schedule for public records that includes this remarkable element: There is no fee for small requests.

That's right. You ask for copies of 25 or fewer pages, and the city will copy and hand them to you gratis. If the records are kept electronically and you're willing to receive them by e-mail, there's no charge no matter how large the request.

"We recognize that access to public records is a fundamental service of government," said Brent Stockwell, the city's strategic-initiatives director. "People ask for things all the time. There's no reason to charge for small items."

City staffers recognized a couple of years ago that each department had its own approach to public-records requests. They studied what other cities were doing and then built their schedule on top of that.

For larger requests, they charge 20 cents a page. Records provided on a CD or DVD cost . That's all fairly standard, although some agencies unconscionably charge as much as a page for any paper copies.

But then city officials did something few other agencies do. They put the words "no charge" in their fee schedule.

"When we started, financial pressures were starting to pick up," Stockwell said. In other cities, that was enough to recast public records as a revenue source. "We were committed to hold the line."

They deserve applause for that. This approach recognizes that public records don't belong to government, which is merely a caretaker. The records belong to the public. Making them so freely available is true public service.

- Carefree's commitment to Wi-Fi. A few years ago, municipally provided Wi-Fi was all the rage. Cities were lining up to offer these paths to the Internet in the same way they built roads and streets.

The bloom has faded. Tight budgets made it difficult to justify the expense. Free community-based Wi-Fi networks are harder to find these days.

So give Carefree credit for going where others have retreated.

The Town Council approved a plan to spend nearly ,000 over the next two years to provide free Wi-Fi in the town center. The hope is it will bring more visitors to shop in the area's eclectic shops.

Council members are entering the project with their eyes wide open. Councilman Jim Van Allen pointed out that visitors would have to spend 0,000 to generate ,000 in new tax revenue. Free Wi-Fi is unlikely to pay for itself.

But that isn't the point. The idea is to give people one more reason to visit Carefree. If it creates new business for shops, the town is healthier.

Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. But this calculated risk is worth the shot, especially in marketing the town to a new generation of tourists.

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