Thursday, December 19, 2013

SF Police FOIA Log: 400 Public Records Requests in 2013

(IMHO, every week is Sunshine Week! Credit: National Security Archive of George Washington University.)

This is quite curious. While San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who touts himself as very Tech Inc friendly and can't find enough hours in the day to meet with information technology leaders, is having trouble producing his public records request log for me and his office claims a scant 24 requests over three months is a voluminous amount and that he needs more than 10 days to respond to my request, the FOIA log story is so different over at the police department.

In less than twenty-four hours, after I emailed a request to Chief of Police Greg Suhr for his department's freedom of information request log, one of his assistants sent me the log. No muss, no fuss, no clutching of pearls and invoking a more time needed clause of our sunshine laws.

The San Francisco Police Department has produced a 27-page spread sheet revealing they've received almost 400 requests for public documents so far this year, and how the requests were disposed of. Considering the department does not enjoy a tech-savvy reputation, I am happily surprised the police turned over responsive records so quickly.

It pleases me to learn SFPD keeps a central log and this episode of sunshining more of our City government should serve as an example to the Mayor's Office and all City agencies in how to maintain a records request log, and release it when asked.

Actually, I propose that the Mayor and all City departments subject to public records laws post their FOIA logs on a monthly basis to their web sites. This will be a plank in my platform in my campaign for District 8 Supervisor next year.

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