Firearm Project, California Highway Patrol

Brian Freskos filed this request with the California Highway Patrol of California.
Tracking # 2016-50
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Ben Hallman

Hi,

Pursuant to the state’s public records law, I am requesting access to and copies of records from your agency as part of our continuing coverage of gun trafficking. I have broken the request into three parts, each of which details the records that we are seeking. As expressed below, the date range for each part of this request is January 1, 2010 to the present:

1) Detailed information on stolen guns

It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies keep detailed records about firearms that were reported stolen by the citizens they serve. We are therefore requesting the following for each case of reported firearm theft in your jurisdiction:

-- The police report number and/or incident number for the firearm theft
-- The serial number, make, model, caliber, type and any other descriptive information for each firearm that was reported stolen

We would appreciate if this data was provided in a spreadsheet. If a spreadsheet is provided, please provide any record layout and/or code sheets.

The date range for this part is January 1, 2010 to the present.

2) Detailed information about crime guns

Second, it is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that were used in crimes, recovered at crimes scenes or seized during investigations in their jurisdictions, including the make, model and serial number of each gun. We are therefore requesting the following:

-- The following records regarding firearms used in crimes in your agency’s jurisdiction, recovered at crime scenes or seized during investigations: the make, model, and serial number of each gun; the date of the crime; the police report number for the crime; the type of crime the firearm was used in; and the address where the crime was committed.

If your agency maintains a spreadsheet or database containing these records, we ask that you please provide that database. I would be grateful if this data was collated into a spreadsheet where each row represents one case, the same as part 1) “Detailed information about stolen guns.”

I would like to note that we are not at this time seeking copies of police reports or any other investigative records associated with these crimes; we are only seeking information about the firearms used and some general information about the crimes that is generally released to the public.

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

3) Detailed information on lost, stolen or unaccounted for law enforcement guns

Finally, it is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that, while under the control and/or in the possession of their employees, went missing, were lost or stolen, or are otherwise accounted for. Therefore we request the following:

-- Any and all records of department-issued firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise accounted for.

-- If your department does not issue firearms, then we ask for any and all records of firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or otherwise became unaccounted for while under the control and/or in the possession of one of your employees.

The records should include but not be limited to the following:

• The make, model, serial number and caliber of each lost or stolen firearm
• The location and address where the firearm was stolen
• The date of the loss or theft.
• The date the lost or theft was reported
• Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered
• If the lost or stolen firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery
• A description of how the firearm was lost or stolen
• Whether negligence on the part of the employee is/was suspected in the loss or theft of the firearm
• Whether the employee in control of the firearm retired, was terminated or otherwise left the department, and if so, the date and circumstances of the employee’s departure and whether his or her gun was retrieved and/or recovered.
• Any other individual reports and findings on the individual lost or stolen firearms

The records should include but not be limited to databases, reports, memos, internal affairs investigations, emails or other correspondence, and/or any other records.

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

Please label each record in a clear manner. As a news organization, we will be making information obtained from this request available to the general public and are not requesting it for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you informed me of the total charges before completing my request. We request that if you send an invoice, you make it out to The Trace.

I would prefer the requested information be sent via an e-mail attachment if available, or a mailed CD-ROM if not. If standard mail must be used, we ask that you send the request to the following address:

The Trace (at WeWork)
Attn: Brian Freskos
428 Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Thank you in advance for your help with this request. I look forward to receiving your response. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me on my cell phone: (919) 522-6354

Sincerely,

Brian Freskos

From: Dunham, Janelle@CHP

Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations
P.O. Box 942898
Sacramento, CA 94298-0001
(916) 843-3310
(800) 735-2929 (TT/TDD)
(800) 735-2922 (Voice)

November 8, 2016

File No.: 013.A13673.A16501.2016-50

Sent via e-mail

Brian Freskos
The Trace
MuckRock
DEPT MR 29490
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Re: California Public Records Act (CPRA) Request, dated October 31, 2016

Dear Mr. Freskos:

The Department of California Highway Patrol (Department) received your request for public records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.).

In your request, dated October 31, 2016, you asked for copies of the following records:

1) Detailed information on stolen guns

-- The police report number and/or incident number for the firearm theft
-- The serial number, make, model, caliber, type and any other descriptive information for each firearm that was reported stolen

The date range for this part is January 1, 2010 to the present.

2) Detailed information about crime guns

-- The following records regarding firearms used in crimes in your agency's jurisdiction, recovered at crime scenes or seized during investigations: the make, model, and serial number of each gun; the date of the crime; the police report number for the crime; the type of crime the firearm was used in; and the address where the crime was committed.

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

3) Detailed information on lost, stolen or unaccounted for law enforcement guns

-- Any and all records of department-issued firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise accounted for.

The records should include but not be limited to the following:

* The make, model, serial number and caliber of each lost or stolen firearm
* The location and address where the firearm was stolen
* The date of the loss or theft.
* The date the lost or theft was reported
* Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered
* If the lost or stolen firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery
* A description of how the firearm was lost or stolen
* Whether negligence on the part of the employee is/was suspected in the loss or theft of the firearm
* Whether the employee in control of the firearm retired, was terminated or otherwise left the department, and if so, the date and circumstances of the employee's departure and whether his or her gun was retrieved and/or recovered.
* Any other individual reports and findings on the individual lost or stolen firearms

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

The Department is determining whether you seek copies of disclosable public records in the Department's possession. This will require Department staff from the Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request. Accordingly, the Department is extending its 10-day response timeframe by an additional 14 days, as authorized by Government Code section 6253, subdivision (c).

On or before Monday, November 23, 2016, the Department will notify you of its determination regarding your request. If you have any questions related to the content of this notification, please direct them to this office.

Sincerely,

Fran Clader
Director of Communications

[Non-Uniform-Janelle]

From: Ben Hallman

Thanks!

From: Dunham, Janelle@CHP

Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations
P.O. Box 942898
Sacramento, CA 94298-0001
(916) 843-3310
(800) 735-2929 (TT/TDD)
(800) 735-2922 (Voice)

November 23, 2016

File No.: 013.A13673.A16501.2016-50

Sent via e-mail

Brian Freskos
The Trace
MuckRock
DEPT MR 29490
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Re: California Public Records Act (CPRA) Request, dated October 31, 2016

Dear Mr. Freskos:

The Department of California Highway Patrol (Department) has reviewed your request for public records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) (Gov. Code, § 6250 et seq.), dated October 31, 2016. On November 8, the Department acknowledged your request, and extended its 10-day response time frame by an additional 14 days, as authorized by Government Code section 6253, subdivision (c). Please accept this notice of the Department’s determination regarding your request.

In your request, dated October 31, 2016, you asked for copies of the following records:

1) Detailed information on stolen guns

-- The police report number and/or incident number for the firearm theft
-- The serial number, make, model, caliber, type and any other descriptive information for each firearm that was reported stolen

The date range for this part is January 1, 2010 to the present.

The Department has no records responsive to this request.

2) Detailed information about crime guns

-- The following records regarding firearms used in crimes in your agency’s jurisdiction, recovered at crime scenes or seized during investigations: the make, model, and serial number of each gun; the date of the crime; the police report number for the crime; the type of crime the firearm was used in; and the address where the crime was committed.

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

This request is unclear. It may require a hand-search of records in more than 180 CHP offices throughout California. Please feel free to contact this office to help us better understand the request.

3) Detailed information on lost, stolen or unaccounted for law enforcement guns

-- Any and all records of department-issued firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise accounted for.

The records should include but not be limited to the following:

• The make, model, serial number and caliber of each lost or stolen firearm
• The location and address where the firearm was stolen
• The date of the loss or theft.
• The date the lost or theft was reported
• Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered
• If the lost or stolen firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery
• A description of how the firearm was lost or stolen
• Whether negligence on the part of the employee is/was suspected in the loss or theft of the firearm
• Whether the employee in control of the firearm retired, was terminated or otherwise left the department, and if so, the date and circumstances of the employee’s departure and whether his or her gun was retrieved and/or recovered.
• Any other individual reports and findings on the individual lost or stolen firearms

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

The Department has identified a three-page spreadsheet that is responsive to parts of this item.

The attached spreadsheet, which is entitled “Loss or Theft of Department-Issued Firearms,” includes the following columns of data:

• Firearm Assignment (Officer or Command)
• Rank of Officer at Time of Incident
• Make, Model, and Serial Number of Firearm
• Lost or Stolen?
• Date of Reported Loss or Theft
• Location or Address of Loss or Theft (Left Blank if a Residential Address)
• Date of Recovery (if Applicable)

The Department is withholding certain information on the following legal bases:

• Government Code section 6254, subdivision (c)
• Government Code section 6254, subdivision (k), which incorporates Penal Code section 832.7
• Government Code section 6254, subdivision (k), which incorporates the individual’s right to privacy under the California Constitution (Cal. Const., art. I, § 1) and the Information Practices Act (Civ. Code, § 1798 et seq.)

After a diligent search and reasonable inquiry, the Department also identified 229 pages of records that are responsive to this request. The Department is withholding its investigation reports and investigatory files on the basis of Government Code Section 6254, subdivision (f). However, the Department will provide you with public information from its investigation reports in accordance with Government Code section 6254, subdivision (f)(2).

In response to your request, the Department has compiled a 229-page set of records. To offset its duplication costs, the Department currently charges CPRA requesters a duplication fee of 30 cents per page of records, for a total of $68.70. Alternatively, the records can be provided to you on a CD for $5. If you wish to receive this set of records, please forward your check to the California Highway Patrol, PO Box 942898, Sacramento, CA 94298-0001 (Attention: Janelle Dunham, Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations). Please make your check payable to the “California Highway Patrol.” Once the Department receives this payment, these records will be prepared and mailed to you on an expedited basis.

Sincerely,

Lt. Sven Miller
Office of Community Outreach and Media Relations

[Non-Uniform-Janelle]

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you. I forwarded the response to our accounting folks who will put a check for $5 in the mail for the CD. As for part 2 of the request, this is seeking the make, model and serial number of any gun that was taken in by the department for any reason since Jan. 1, 2010. For example, if the CHP conducted a traffic stop and found an illegal gun and seized it, we want information about that gun. If CHP was investigating a murder and found the murder weapon, and that murder weapon was a gun, we want information about that gun. If CHP found a gun on the side of the road, we want information about that gun. If a private citizen found a gun and turned it into CHP, we want information about that gun.

Please don't hesitate to call me at (919) 522-6354 if this isn't clear.

From: Dunham, Janelle@CHP

Brian, thank you for your time on the phone this afternoon. The conversation was useful in helping us comply with your request.
As I understand, you are not necessarily interested in all the records that are generated when a recovered weapon is booked into either evidence or property. This includes CHP forms, searches of various data bases, and different registries.
What you would like is the make, model, and serial number of any weapon recovered by the CHP, whether it was during a traffic stop, picked up alongside the road, turned in for example by a civilian or a Caltrans worker, recovered as part of a bust of a car theft ring, or any other reason.
To help us all determine how many records are involved and what they look like, we agreed that the CHP will start with one year from one CHP Area office – specifically, the Central Los Angeles Area office for 2015.
If that effort generates the records you seek, we can broaden the request.
We will continue to stay in touch.

Janelle Fallan Dunham
843-3314 |Janelle.dunham@chp.ca.gov<mailto:|Janelle.dunham@chp.ca.gov>

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you Janelle.

From: Martis Jr, Mihai@CHP

Hi Brian,

Please see attached information.

Thank you.

[Martis Email Signature 2]

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you for providing this. However, we take issue with the withholding of serial numbers. California Government Code 6254(f) says the law enforcement agencies "shall disclose ... the description of any property involved..." The serial number is the single most important piece of descriptive information for a firearm. As for the privacy exemption, serial numbers for guns is not information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. They are not social security numbers, and they in no way could lead to the identify of the officer involved. Several departments in the California area have released serial numbers to us and to the Bay Area News Group. The Bay Area News Group's database can be found here: http://apps.mercurynews.com/policeguns/

From: Martis Jr, Mihai@CHP

Hello Brian,

Thank you for your e-mail of Thursday, December 15, 2016.

The Department’s Office of Legal Affairs stands by its original response. Their recommendation was and remains that the serial numbers pursuant to your request not be released. The article you cited related to firearms registered to the California Highway Patrol. Those serial numbers have been released as there is no personal identifying information for the weapons owned by the Department.

[Martis Email Signature 2]

From: Ben Hallman

Hi,

Ok thank you for reviewing this. Is there someone in legal affairs I can speak to about this?

From: Martis Jr, Mihai@CHP

Hi Brian,

I have received your email. We will look into this and get back to you next week.
Thanks,

[Martis Email Signature 2]

From: California Highway Patrol

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Ben Hallman

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Brian

From: Martis Jr, Mihai@CHP

You’re welcome!

[Martis Email Signature 2]

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