May 122011
 
SPOG president Rich O'Neill circa 1983

As a result of receiving a threatening letter from the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild for distributing a newsletter produced on the job by a public employee, I submitted the following public records request to the Seattle Police Department on May 5, 2011:

Dear Public Records Officer:

Pursuant to the Washington State Public Records Act, I request access to and copies of the Seattle Police newsletter, The Guardian, produced in whole or in part by Sergeant Rich O’Neill while working as an employee of the City of Seattle, along with all metadata. Where available, I would like the “source files” (i.e., those saved in a format native to the word processing or desktop publishing software used, such as Word, Quark, Publisher) along with a PDF of the final product (as produced by the authoring software, rather than by scanning printed copies of the newsletters). For newsletters for which computer files as described above are unavailable, I request copies of printed editions.

I would like to receive these records in electronic format, as attachments to e-mail or burned to CDROM. If that is not feasible, please contact me to discuss alternatives.

I agree to pay reasonable duplication fees for the processing of this request in an amount not to exceed $20. Please notify me prior to your incurring any expenses in excess of that amount.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the PRA. I request that any deletions be “blacked out” rather than “whited out”. I will also expect you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material.

Thank you for your assistance.

SPD’s response, May 12:

PDR # P2011-1517

Dear Mr. Mocek:

This email is in response to your public disclosure request dated May 5, 2011 for ” access to and copies of the Seattle Police newsletter, _The Guardian_, produced in whole or in part by Sergeant Rich O’Neill while working as an employee of the City of Seattle, along with all metadata.” Please be aware that the Department can only respond with respect to records in the custody of the Seattle Police Department. The records you have requested are not those of SPD and they belong to the Seattle Police Guild. You can contact them at the following address:

Seattle Police Guild
2949 4th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134-1914

If you feel that this information has been withheld in error, you may file a written appeal with the Chief of Police within ten (10) business days from the date of this letter. Please include your name and address and a copy of this letter together with a brief statement identifying the basis of the appeal. Please mail or deliver your appeal to:

Chief of Police
Seattle Police Department
PO Box 34986
Seattle, WA 98124-4986

This concludes the Seattle Police Department’s response to your request.

If you have any questions, you can contact our public disclosure desk at 206-684-5481.

Thank you,
Sheila

Sheila Friend Gray
Public Request Unit Manager
Seattle Police Department
206-733-9313
Sheila.FriendGray@Seattle.gov

My response, May 12:

On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 12:00:20PM -0700, Sheila Friend Gray wrote:
> Please be aware that the Department can only respond with
> respect to records in the custody of the Seattle Police
> Department.

I hereby request access to and copies of all issues of The Guardian that are in the custody of the Seattle Police Department.

SPD’s response, May 19:

PDR # P2011-1587

Mr. Mocek,

This email is in response to your follow-up request dated May 12, 2001 regarding issues of the Guardian. As you are aware, the Guardian is published by the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, which is an independent labor union and not a “local agency” as defined by RCW 42.56.010(1). SPD does not prepare, own, or use the Guardian for the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function. We understand that the Chief’s Office receives a courtesy copy of the Guardian, but it does not retain a file of the copies it has received. This publication is transitory in nature and has minimal retention value. (See Washington State Archives, Office of Secretary of State, Local Government Common Records Retention Schedule, Version 2.1, July 2010, Item No. 6.1.13). Similar to a newspaper or magazine received by the agency, the copy may be destroyed or discarded after it has been read. We have checked, and the Chief’s Office does not currently retain any copies of the Guardian. As a result, Seattle Police Department has no records responsive to your request.

You may file a written appeal with the Chief of Police within ten (10) business days from the date of this letter. Please include your name and address and a copy of this letter together with a brief statement identifying the basis of the appeal. Please mail or deliver your appeal to:

Chief of Police
Seattle Police Department
PO Box 34986
Seattle, WA 98124-4986

This concludes Seattle Police Department’s response to your public disclosure request.

If you have any questions, please contact our public disclosure desk at 206-684-5481.

Thank you,
Sheila

Sheila Friend Gray
Public Request Unit Manager
Seattle Police Department
206-733-9313
Sheila.FriendGray@Seattle.gov