Township Police Department Records
The following policy is hereby established by Tredyffrin Township (the "Township") in regard to reviewing public records in possession of the Township ("Township records"):
1. Any member of the public has the right to examine and inspect any public record of a public agency under authority of the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law.
2. Consistent with past practice and its policy of maintaining open communications with the public, the Township provides open access to many records without requiring a citizen to proceed through the formalities of the Right To Know Law. Accordingly, any member of the public who is seeking information from the Township should start by calling Township staff to request the information.
3. If a member of the public decides to request information via the Right To Know Law, the requesting party must follow the procedures established under that law. This includes the right, under certain conditions, to make copies of documents under supervision of the custodian of records. The law also provides for the denial of access to some public records, redaction of certain information, and responses to request for access. Finally, the law provides processes for appeals, court costs, attorney fees, penalties, and certain immunities.
4. A "record," as defined by the Right to Know Law, is: information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and that is created, received, or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction, business, or activity of the agency. The term "record" includes a document, paper, letter, map, book, tape, photograph, film or sound recording, information stored or maintained electronically, and a dataprocessed or image-processed document. A "public record" is any record that is not exempted from disclosure or protected by a privilege under the Right To Know Law. The Right To Know Law contains a detailed list of such exemptions (such as personal information of employees).
5. Request for review of any Township records should be made in writing on the Tredyffrin Township Right To Know Request Form (the "request form"), directed to the Township Open Records Officer, 1100 DuPortail Road, Berwyn, PA, 19312. The completed request form shall include the date of the request, the name and address of the requester, a clear and specific description as to which documents or records are to be reviewed, and other information and certifications required on the request form. The request form is available at the Township building and on the Township's website.
6. The Township Open Records Officer shall review all written requests submitted on the request form for access to Township records. As soon as possible, but no later than five (5) business days after receiving a completed request form, the Township Open Records Officer shall respond to all such requests in a manner consistent with the Right To Know Law. The Right To Know Law also allows an extension of up to thirty (30) days under certain circumstances. The Open Records Officer shall notify the requesting party if such an extension is required.
REVIEWING/COPIES OF TOWNSHIP RECORDS
7. Township records are to be viewed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on regular Township business days. Review must be done at the convenience of the Township staff. Appointments are required. Appointments must be made with the Township Secretary or other designated Township staff.
8. When responding to a request for review, the Township staff is not required to create a record which does not currently exist or to compile information into a new or different format. Records are generally produced and/or copied in the format in which they are maintained.
9. In the case of any Township records to be reviewed, the Township reserves the right to oversee all reviews. In no case shall unbound record and files be reviewed without Township staff present. The Township reserves the right to limit inspection periods to 30 minutes per sitting and the number of times per month that reviews can take place.
10. Attorneys representing a requesting party for the purpose of review must state the name of the client and the client's address.
11. A request may be made for copies of any Township records. Copies will be made as soon as practical by the Township, given other duties of the Township staff. Appropriate charges will be made for all copied material, with the copying and expense fees as established by the Right To Know Law. Currently, those fees consist of: $0.25 per page, sales tax, postage fees, third party or Township staff hourly rates for work done in producing the copies (with the exception of time spent determining if a document is a public record and any duplication time), and $1.00 per certified document. If any of these fees become inconsistent with the fee schedule established by the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records (the "OOR"), the OOR's rates shall apply. Payment of all copying and expense fees is required before any documents will be produced.
12. At no time shall any original Township records, of a size that the Township has the ability copy, be removed from the Township building. Certain original documents that the Township is unable to copy may be removed from the Township building solely for the purposes of copying, provided that the requesting party leaves a $100 deposit, which will be refunded upon the document's satisfactory return. Copies of Township records that have been approved by the Township and paid for in full by the requesting party may be removed from the Township building.
13. No copying of original Township records may be done by the requesting party or any third party, unless approved by the Board of Supervisors or the Township Manager.
14. The Township does not have the capability to copy blueprints. For requesting parties seeking blueprints, the Township will ask the engineer of the plan for an extra copy and will make that copy available at cost. Therefore, copies of blueprints will not be available for "rush" copying.
15. If a request to review and/or copy Township records is denied, any denied party who wishes to challenge the denial must file an appeal in accordance with the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law within fifteen (15) days of the notice of denial.
Any questions or comments regarding Township policy regarding records should be directed to the Township Open Records Officer or the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. The contact information for each is listed below:
William F. Martin, Open Records Officer
1100 DuPortail Road
Berwyn, PA 19312
Pennsylvania Office of Open Records
Commonwealth Keystone Building 400
North Street, Plaza Level
Harrisburg, PA 17120