Citizen Complaints against Appleton Police Officers

Robert Ritchie filed this request with the Appleton Police Department of City of Appleton, WI.


From: Robert Ritchie

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Wisconsin's Open Records act, I hereby request the following records:

Copies of complaints filed against Appleton Police Department employees to include Police Officers and civilian staff from 01/01/13 to when this request is received.

Please be aware that the Open Records law defines “record” to include information that is maintained on paper as well as electronically, such as data files and unprinted emails. Wis. Stat. § 19.32(2).

Please also be aware that the Open Records law “shall be construed in every instance with the presumption of complete public access consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of access generally is contrary to the public interest and only in exceptional cases can access be denied.” If you deny my request, the law requires you to do so in writing and state what part of the law you believe entitles you to deny my request. Wis. Stat. § 19.35(4)(a).

The Open Records law states that you may charge for "the actual, necessary and direct cost" of locating records, if this exceeds $50, and for photocopies. The Wisconsin Department of Justice advises that copying fees under the Open Records law should be “around 15 cents per page and that anything in excess of 25 cents may be suspect.”

As you know, the law requires you to respond to this request “as soon as practicable and without delay.”

If you are not the records custodian for this information, please forward this request to the appropriate person. Also, please let me know if I can clarify or refine this request.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I would request your response within ten (10) business days.


Robert Ritchie


From: Appleton Police Department

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Robert Ritchie

Thank you for the quick response. Yes, I would like to complete this open records request. I will stop in to the APD and pay the fee in person.

From: Dana Schmidt

Mr. Ritchie:

Pursuant to the letter, the officers will need to be provided with notification prior to the release of the documents.

From: Dana Schmidt

Mr. Ritchie:

Pursuant to your request, the total cost for the request will total $9.

According to the Wisconsin Public Records Law, "an authority may require prepayment by a requester of any fee or fees imposed...if the total amount exceeds $5."

Please advise when you will be paying this fee so that I can notify the front desk of your payment.


Dana Schmidt
Administrative Services Unit
Appleton Police Department

From: Robert Ritchie

Ms. Schmidt,

Again, thank you for the prompt reply. Payment for the records will be made in person on the morning of 12/10/13. When the records are ready I would like pick them up in person. Thank you for your assistance.