Q: I recently filed several California Public Records Act requests with a local police department. Some were fulfilled, some were blanket denied. I was hoping I could get some advice on where to go next to help further my reporting into the matter.
A: For the record requests that were denied, you may want to consider writing a follow up letter to the agency asking why the records were denied and which exemptions to the CPRA, if any, it invoked to prevent disclosure of those documents. Gov’t Code § 6253(c). You may also wish to remind the agency that they have a duty to assist you in making a focused and effective request that reasonably describe identifiable records. Gov’t Code § 6253.1. Perhaps refocusing your request or obtaining the documents with redactions would be more amenable to the agency.
Here is a sample PRA letter that has some good language that you may be able to include in your follow-up letter.
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