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10. Police techniques

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  • Alabama

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Alaska

    Law enforcement records may be withheld from disclosure under the Public Records Act to the extent that they would disclose confidential techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. AS 40.25.120(6)(E), or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigation or prosecution if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law. AS 40.25.120(6)(F).

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  • Arizona

    Wiretapping activity cannot be revealed except to specific public officials involved in the investigation.  A.R.S. § 13-3011.

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  • Arkansas

    Unless the technique or manual fits into the “open investigation” exception, the Attorney General has opined that it is subject to disclosure. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 85-134. Furthermore, any training manuals located in a police officer’s personnel file is subject to the FOIA. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 2008-046.
    Sections of the Department of Correction’s procedures dealing with emergency situations are exempt from the FOIA. Ark. Code Ann. § 12-27-137(a).

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  • California

    Exempt. Police techniques or “security procedures” are expressly exempt from disclosure under Section 6254(f).

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  • Colorado

    Records of security procedures may be withheld under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-305(5) if disclosure would be contrary to the public interest.

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  • Connecticut

    See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-210(b)(3) (law enforcement exemption) in Records Outline at II.A.2.c.

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  • Delaware

    Not specified.

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  • District of Columbia

    The D.C. Act does not specifically address police techniques, although § 2-534(a)(3) may apply.  Recently, the District attempted to justify withholding documents concerning the police department's use of breathalyzer tests under the investigatory-records exemption.  The D.C. Court of Appeals explained that withholding would be appropriate only if "(1) the documents requested . . . [were] compiled for law enforcement purposes, and (2) disclosure of those documents would interfere with enforcement proceedings."  Fraternal Order of Police, Metro. Labor Committee v. D.C., 82 A.3d 803, 815 (D.C. 2014).

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  • Florida

    See Miami-Dade Cty. v. Prof’l Law Enforcement Ass’n, 997 So. 2d (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) (aviation unit of county police department required to make public personal flight logs of department pilots, which are created as part of their administrative duties and is the official business of the department’s aviation unit, as public records under Fla. Stat. § 119.011(11)).

    Information revealing police surveillance techniques, procedures or personnel, and information revealing undercover personnel of any criminal justice agency is not subject to public inspection. Fla. Stat. § 119.071(2)(d) (2015).

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  • Georgia

    O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a)(3) exempts from disclosure law enforcement records that if revealed would be reasonably likely to disclose the identity of a confidential source, confidential investigative or prosecution material which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or persons, or the existence of a confidential surveillance or investigation.

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  • Hawaii

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Idaho

    Information in an investigatory record compiled for law enforcement that would disclose investigative techniques and procedures is exempt from disclosure. Idaho Code § 74-124(1)(e).

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  • Illinois

    Only specialized investigative techniques which would result in demonstrable harm to the public body that is the recipient of the request are exempt.  5 ILCS 140/7(1)(d)(v).  Generic police techniques are open. Id; Public Access Opinion 11-002 (available at http://foia.ilattorneygeneral.net/pdf/opinions/2011/11-002.pdf) (number of police officers assigned to districts is subject to disclosure).

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  • Indiana

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue, except the general exception under Indiana Code Section 5-14-3-4(b)(1)for law enforcement investigatory records, which may be released at the agency’s discretion. Criminal intelligence information is confidential under Indiana Code Section 5-2-4-6.

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  • Iowa

    See generally Iowa Code § 22.7(5).

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  • Kansas

    Mentioned at K.S.A. 45-221(a)(10)(D). The presumption is that they are closed as part of a criminal investigation.

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  • Kentucky

    Generally open. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(h).

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  • Louisiana

    Exempt. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:3(A)(3). But a general assertion that certain documents reveal investigative techniques is insufficient to justify the privilege. The law enforcement agency must produce evidence to substantiate the claim of privilege and the party seeking discovery of the records must be afforded meaningful cross-examination to allow the discovering party to contradict the assertion of the privilege. Freeman v. Guaranty Broad. Corp., 498 So. 2d 218 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1986).

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  • Maine

    In general “investigative techniques and procedures or security plans and procedures not generally known by the general public” are confidential. 16 M.R.S.A. § 804(7).

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  • Maryland

    A custodian may deny access of investigatory records to a person in interest if, among other things, the disclosure would disclose an investigative technique. § 4-351(b)(5). Inspection of records by a notary public or any other person in interest may be denied if, among other things, the inspection could disclose an investigative technique or procedure.  § 4-332(d)(5).

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  • Massachusetts

    Reports of discharge of weapons by police officers must be disclosed.  Reinstein v. Police Comm’r of Boston, 378 Mass. 281, 284, 293 (1979).

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Minnesota

    Information regarding investigative techniques is non-public, however, “information, reports, or memoranda that have been adopted as the final opinion or justification for a decision of a law enforcement agency are public data.” Minn. Stat. § 13.82, subd. 25.

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  • Mississippi

    Records that would disclose investigatory techniques and /or the results of investigative techniques fall under the definition of “investigative report.” See N.4.a and N.4.b above. § 25-61-3(f)(iv).

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  • Montana

    Confidential informants are private criminal justice information and not available for public dissemination. However, any allegation that an officer violated the public trust in carrying out some technique is not “private” information and may be disclosed. See Great Falls Tribune v. Cascade County Sheriff, 238 Mont. 103, 775 P.2d 1267 (1989); Citizens to Recall Whitlock v. Whitlock, 255 Mont. 517, 844 P.2d 74 (1992); Bozeman Daily Chronicle v. City of Bozeman Police Dept., 260 Mont. 218, 859 P.2d 435 (1993). In each of cases, the court found that the individual officer, public employee or elected official has very little expectation of privacy, and the public has a fundamental right to know what public employees are doing.

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  • Nebraska

    There is no law on point.

     

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  • Nevada

    See Donrey of Nevada, Inc. v. Bradshaw, 106 Nev. 630 (1990).

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  • New Hampshire

    Neither the Statute nor case law addresses this issue.

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  • New Jersey

    N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 exempts from access:

    “emergency or security information or procedures for any buildings or facility which, if disclosed, would jeopardize security of the building or facility or persons therein;” and “security measures and surveillance techniques which, if disclosed, would create a risk to the safety of persons, property, electronic data or software.”

    Gilleran v. Township of Bloomfield 227 N.J. 159 (2016) - Supreme Court of New Jersey determined that security camera footage of municipal parking lot was exempt from access under OPRA due to the two security exemptions in OPRA.

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  • New Mexico

    Police techniques may be confidential information and thus not available to the public. NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1(D); § 29-10-4.

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  • New York

    An agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 87(2)(e)(iv) (McKinney Supp. 1988). Records which may reveal law enforcement techniques may also be exempt under the general exemption for records which, if disclosed, would endanger the life or safety of any person. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 87(2)(f) (McKinney Supp. 1988).

    For cases on police techniques, see DeZimm v. Connelie, 64 N.Y.2d 860, 476 N.E.2d 646, 487 N.Y.S.2d 320 (1985) (denying access to portions of State Police administrative manual concerning procedures for electronic surveillance and monitoring devices); Smith v. Capasso, 200 A.D.2d 502, 608 N.Y.S.2d 815 (1st Dep’t 1994); Spencer v. New York State Police, 187 A.D.2d 919, 591 N.Y.S.2d 207 (3d Dep’t 1992) (denying access to non-routine, highly detailed step-by-step depictions of the investigatory process and methods of gathering information, and portions of the file describing autopsies performed on victims, but granting access to files regarding surveillance, establishment of roadblocks and lists of evidence seized); Lyon v. Dunne, 180 A.D.2d 922, 580 N.Y.S.2d 803 (3d Dep’t 1992), motion for leave to appeal denied, 79 N.Y.2d 758 (1992) (denying access to laboratory analyses of evidence because it would reveal nonroutine techniques and procedures, however, evidence inventory list is not exempt from disclosure); Ennis v. Slade, 179 A.D.2d 558, 579 N.Y.S.2d 59 (1st Dep’t 1992), motion for leave to appeal denied, 79 N.Y.2d 758 (1992) (denying access to records of narcotics buy operation); Moore v. Santucci, 151 A.D.2d 676, 543 N.Y.S.2d 103, (2d Dep’t 1989) (ballistic and fingerprinting tests are routine investigative techniques); Allen v. Strojnowski, 129 A.D.2d 700, 514 N.Y.S.2d 463 (3d Dep’t 1987), motion for leave to appeal denied, 70 N.Y.2d 871, 518 N.E.2d 5, 523 N.Y.S.2d 493 (1987) (denying access to reports revealing nonroutine techniques for processing homicide scene); Muniz v. Roth, 162 Misc.2d 293, 620 N.Y.S.2d 700 (Sup. Ct., Tompkins Cty. 1994) (granting access to fingerprint tests because they are routine investigative techniques); Banfield v. Michael, N.Y.L.J., March 20, 1985 (Sup. Ct., New York Cty., 1985) (denying access to financial records which would reveal criminal investigative techniques); Kotler v. Suffolk Police Dep’t, (Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., April 7, 1983) (granting access to fingerprint and polygraph records as product of routine procedures); Foley v. Wilson, No. 20250 (Sup. Ct., Wayne Cty., Nov. 23, 1982) (directing that records relating to pending investigation and criminal action be made available only after completion of proceedings, including breathalyzer test results and operation checklist); Kwoczka v. Cawley, 103 Misc.2d 13, 425 N.Y.S.2d 247 (Sup. Ct. 1980) (denying access to testimony, audio and videotapes of undercover police investigation on basis that disclosure would identify informants and “secret tricks and techniques”); Matter of Warner, N.Y.L.J. (1st Dep’t March 17, 1995) (ordering in camera inspection of police training material to determine whether exempt as criminal investigative techniques or procedures or would endanger life or safety of any person).

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  • North Carolina

    Police techniques are not specifically addressed by statute but likely could be withheld as criminal intelligence or criminal investigative records. G.S. § 132-1.4(b).

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  • North Dakota

    Generally closed. See N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.7.

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  • Ohio

    Specific confidential investigatory techniques or procedures are explicitly exempted from disclosure.  Ohio Rev. Code §§ 149.43(A)(1)(h), 149.43(A)(2)(c).

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  • Oklahoma

    Audio and video recordings of an arrest made by a law enforcement agency are a public record under the Act.  Ward & Lee, P.L.C. v. City of Claremore, 2014 OK CIV APP 1.

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  • Oregon

    Information compiled in investigations not connected with pending or contemplated prosecution may remain confidential if it would disclose investigative techniques and procedures. See Jensen v. Schiffman, 24 Or. App. 11, 544 P.2d 1048 (1976); Attorney General Manual § I(E)(4)(d).

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  • Pennsylvania

    The Law does not explicitly exempt police techniques from its requirements, but the language of 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(16) suggests police agencies may argue the relationship between the revelation of specific investigations to police techniques generally.

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  • Rhode Island

    Law enforcement agency investigative records which could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source are exempt from disclosure.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(D)(d).

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  • South Dakota

    Closed, presumably. SDCL §§1-27-1.5 (5) and (8).

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  • Tennessee

    Generally open. See Schneider v. City of Jackson, 226 S.W.2d 332 (Tenn. 2007)

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  • Texas

    Internal law enforcement detection and investigation methods are generally exempt under Section 552.108. In Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706, 710 (Tex. 1977), the Texas Supreme Court held that the Act excepts law enforcement information if release "will unduly interfere with law enforcement and crime prevention."  In Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-531 (1989), the Attorney General advised that detailed portions of a police department's "use of force" procedures are excepted from disclosure under the Act because it "is reasonable to conclude that knowledge of these detailed guidelines would place an individual at an advantage in confrontations with police officers and would increase his chances of evading arrest or injuring the officer or other persons." However, other portions of the procedures that only restate generally known common law, constitutional, or Penal Code provisions are public.

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  • Utah

    Records that reasonably could be expected to disclose investigative techniques that are not generally known outside of government are protected from public disclosure. Utah Code § 63G-2-305(10)(e).

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  • Vermont

    Records dealing with the detection and investigation of crime are exempt from disclosure, including records that “would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecution if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.” 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(5)(a)(v).

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  • Virginia

    Specific tactical plans, if their release would jeopardize law enforcement personnel or public safety, and staffing, logistics, or tactical plans of undercover operations or protective details are subject to exclusion and to discretionary release.  This does not permit the withholding of information concerning the overall costs of operations. Va. Code. Ann. § 2.2-3706.B.5 and 8.

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  • Washington

    Investigative records that disclose police techniques may be withheld if nondisclosure is necessary for effective law enforcement.  RCW 42.56.240(1).  The state Supreme Court has held that records of internal police investigations are public, but the names of complaining persons and law enforcement officers who are the subject of complaints may be withheld. Cowles Publ'g Co. v. Washington State Patrol, 109 Wn.2d 712, 748 P.2d 597 (1988) (finding, on the facts of the case, that nondisclosure is necessary for effective law enforcement).

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wisconsin

    Investigatory records generally are subject to the common law balancing test. Appleton Post-Crescent v. Janssen, 149 Wis. 2d 294, 441 N.W.2d 255 (Ct. App. 1989). Journal/Sentinel Inc. v. Aagerup, 145 Wis. 2d 818, 429 N.W.2d 772 (Ct. App. 1988). A district attorney has the discretion to withhold its investigatory records. State ex rel. Richard v. Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429, 477 N.W.2d 608 (1991). Juvenile investigatory records are not open to inspection except for news gatherers who wish to obtain news without revealing the identity of the child. Wis. Stat. § 48.396(1).

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  • Wyoming

    No Wyoming cases have discussed this issue.

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