F20-04Posted on Jun 10, 2020 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Ltr. No. F20-04
June 10, 2020
A requester appealed the Kauai Police Department’s (KPD) denial of access to two police reports, and assertion that it did not maintain a third. With respect to the first report, which was for an incident that was not currently under investigation at the time of the request and that did not involve the requester, OIP concluded that the UIPA did not allow KPD to fully withhold the police report to avoid an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of an individual named in the report, and that KPD must disclose the report after redaction of information that would result in the likelihood of actual identification of the victim, which includes the victim’s name, address, cell phone number, date of birth, and photographs.
With respect to the second report, which was for an incident that did involve the requester, OIP found that KPD had provided enough information to establish that the report was part of a pending investigation at the time of the request, and that the UIPA allowed KPD to withhold it on that basis. Because the investigation has since closed, though, KPD would be required to disclose the report in response to a newly made request after redaction of information that would result in the likelihood of actual identification of individuals named therein.
With respect to the report KPD asserted it did not have, OIP found that KPD had responded properly to the request by performing a reasonable search based on the information provided to it at the time of its search. See OIP Op. Ltr. No. 97-08 at 5. Even though KPD’s search turned up a report that was not the one Requester was seeking, KPD had no notice that the report it had identified was the wrong one until after this appeal was filed, and thus KPD had no obligation to do a new search in the absence of any clarification to the request.