A&A: Need Guidance On Gaining Access to Arrest Report

Q: The police department is refusing to release the arrest report I’ve requested. Do they have to release the report under CPRA?

A: The police department might be refusing to disclose the arrest report on the ground that it is a law enforcement investigatory record exempt from disclosure under the Public
Records Act, Gov’t Code § 6254(f).  However, police are required to release certain information related to arrests, unless the disclosure of such information “would endanger the safety
of a person involved in an investigation or would endanger the successful completion of the investigation or a related investigation.” Gov’t Code § 6254(f).

The information that must be released is: “the full name and occupation of every individual arrested by the agency, the individual’s physical description including date of birth, color of eyes and hair, sex, height and weight, the time and date of arrest, the time and date of booking, the location of the arrest, the factual circumstances surrounding the arrest, the amount of bail set, the time and manner of release or the location where the individual is currently being held, and all charges the individual is being held upon, including any outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions and parole or probation holds.” Gov’t Code § 6254(f)(1).

You can read more on this website about the Public Records Act, including the law enforcement record exemption, here and here.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response.