Access to transcripts of 911 calls
Q: I was involved in a hit and run accident in May of last year. I have requested transcript of the call to the CHP officer that came from the Los Angeles County 911 service and dispatched the CHP officer to the accident location. I have requested this document through the L.A City Arson Inv. Sec. Cust. of Records. They said that they can’t release the call records unless the District Attorney approves it and that he may not respond. He has not responded. How can I obtain this record? Thank you
A: Under the California Public Records Act, state and local agencies are generally required to respond to a request for public records within 10 days of the receipt of the request. If you have not already done so, you should probably submit a written request for the records you seek. It’s probably best to direct this request to the police agencie(s) that you believe have copies of this tape. A sample request letter can be found on the CFAC web site. A link to that page is pasted below.
The Public Records Act affirmatively requires police agencies to provide the public with “the substance” of “all requests for assistance,” including all of the “factual circumstances surrounding the incident.” Government Code section 6254(f)(2). Often, the best way for a department to comply with this statutory obligation is to release the 911 tape, and you might want to point this out in your written request.