University of Colorado Boulder Drone Documents

Drone Watch filed this request with the University of Colorado Boulder of Colorado.
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From: Drone Watch

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

1. any requests for proposals, proposals submitted by vendors, contracts, budgets or cost allocations for the purchase and/or use of aerial drones, UAs, UAVs, and UASs (hereinafter “drones”), as well as research services or other services related to drones;

2. any policies, guidelines, manuals and/or instructions on use of drones, including on the legal process required (such as a warrant or court order), if any, before operating a drone;

3. any records concerning this organization's use of drones now or plans to use drones in the future including:

a. the types of investigations or instances in which this university is using or plans to use drones, or how it plans to support, manage or oversee the usage of drones by another university or office;

b. policies, guidelines, manuals and/or instructions on storage requirements or procedures for video or static images obtained through use of drones, including retention times;

c. the altitude at which drones can or do fly;

d. drones’ ability to carry weapons.

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 MuckRock.com, 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 look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Brandon Wieber

From: Ken McConnellogue

Mr. Wieber -- I am not the custodian of records for the University of
Colorado. I have forwarded your request to Cheryl Espinoza, who handles
such matters.

From: Scott.Bocim@Colorado.edu

Dear Mr. Wieber,

Your Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests (copied below) were forwarded to me as the custodian of records for the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado. In your request, you seek seven categories of records related to “aerial drones, UAs, UAVs, and UASs.”

In light of the breadth of your request and in accordance with our open records policy, I am seeking some clarification about what you are requesting. As noted in the open records policy, the more specific the request, the more likely we will be able to locate records that respond to the request. For any request that is vague or broadly stated the Custodian may require the requestor to provide a more specific request. Please let me know your contact number so we can discuss specifically what you are seeking.

To the extent you are seeking records related to the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department (UCPD), please note that UCPD does not use UAs, UAVs, or UASs, has no plans to use them, and maintains no public records responsive to your request.

To the extent you are seeking records related to the University’s academic research departments, and to the extent such departments maintain potentially responsive public records, it is my understanding that these records would already be publicly available through the Federal Aviation Administration. Furthermore, to the extent you are seeking research records, please note that CORA contains an exception (C.R.S. §24-72-204(2)(a)(III)) to the right of inspection for the specific details of bona fide research projects being conducted by a state institution.

Best wishes,

Scott
--------------------
Scott Bocim
Custodian of Records / Assistant to the Chancellor
University of Colorado at Boulder
17 UCB
303-492-8908
Scott.Bocim@Colorado.edu
coracuboulder@colorado.edu

From: Shawn Musgrave

Mr. Bocim:

Thank you for your response and assistance with this request.

We are requesting records related to the University of Colorado Boulder's application to the FAA for authorization to operate drones. Please process our request, copied below, with respect to the FAA application process, as well as any contracts/cost allocation documents for drone/UAV/UAS/RCP equipment, training or research.

Please let me know if I may provide any further clarification of our request.

Best,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock News

From: CORA CU Boulder

Thank you for your reply. The response below applies to both this request and the one attached. Given the overlap between them, the University is treating them as a single CORA request.

I write to seek further clarification about your request below, which states: "We are requesting records related to the University of Colorado Boulder's application to the FAA for authorization to operate drones. Please process our request, copied below, with respect to the FAA application process, as well as any contracts/cost allocation documents for drone/UAV/UAS/RCP equipment, training or research.”

As noted in the original reply to your requests, FAA authorization documents are maintained by the FAA and publically available through the FAA. The University may be able to gather documents related to the application for authorization, though this process will likely require more than one (1) hour of staff time, particularly as some material may contain specific details of bona fide research projects, and would not be subject to disclosure. See C.R.S. §24-72-204(2)(a)(III)). As such, in accordance with the Boulder Campus’s open records policy, the University is hereby notifying you that the actual costs to fulfill your request will likely exceed one (1) hour of employee time for response. As described in the open records policy, for requests which require more than one (1) hour of employee time for response, in lieu of the $.25 per page fee, the requestor may be charged a reasonable retrieval fee based on the actual cost of responding, including employee time of gathering, preparing, redacting, and copying requested documents. If actual costs are charged, employee time, if any, shall be charged at a rate of $20 per hour and copying shall be charged at a rate of $.15 per page.

The University has yet to undergo an estimation of the actual costs for this request. If you wish to proceed with your request, or if you provide a clarified request, the University will proceed to determine the estimated retrieval time and amount of actual costs for gathering the records and notify you accordingly. We will require written confirmation that you wish to proceed in light of the estimated retrieval time and actual costs for gathering the records, and you will be required to pay the amount as a deposit prior to the University producing the documents. The University will track the amount of time actually spent retrieving responsive documents and refund any portion of the deposit that exceeds the actual amount of time spent. Conversely, you will be charged at the quoted rate if actual retrieval time exceeds the estimate.

I will seek further information in regards to your request for “…any contracts/cost allocation documents for drone/UAV/UAS/RCP equipment, training or research.” The University, pursuant to C.R.S. §24-72-203(3)(b), will require an extension of up to seven working days to respond to this request. This extension is necessary because it is difficult to ascertain where responsive public records may be maintained by the University, to the extent the University does maintain responsive public records.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

From: Drone Watch

Mr. Bocim:

I apologize that it has taken me so long to respond. Please proceed with searching for responsive records related the the University's application to the FAA.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: CORA CU Boulder

Hello Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your message. To reiterate the language from our previous response:

As noted in the original reply to your requests, FAA authorization documents are maintained by the FAA and publically available through the FAA. The University may be able to gather documents related to the application for authorization, though this process will likely require more than one (1) hour of staff time, particularly as some material may contain specific details of bona fide research projects, and would not be subject to disclosure. See C.R.S. §24-72-204(2)(a)(III)). As such, in accordance with the Boulder Campus’s open records policy, the University is hereby notifying you that the actual costs to fulfill your request will likely exceed one (1) hour of employee time for response. As described in the open records policy, for requests which require more than one (1) hour of employee time for response, in lieu of the $.25 per page fee, the requestor may be charged a reasonable retrieval fee based on the actual cost of responding, including employee time of gathering, preparing, redacting, and copying requested documents. If actual costs are charged, employee time shall be charged at a rate of $20 per hour and copying shall be charged at a rate of $.15 per page.

The University has yet to undergo an estimation of the actual costs for this request. If you wish to proceed with your request, the University will proceed to determine the estimated retrieval time and amount of actual costs for gathering the records and notify you accordingly. We will require written confirmation that you wish to proceed in light of the estimated retrieval time and actual costs for gathering the records, and you will be required to pay the amount as a deposit prior to the University producing the documents. The University will track the amount of time actually spent retrieving responsive documents and refund any portion of the deposit that exceeds the actual amount of time spent. Conversely, you will be charged at the quoted rate if actual retrieval time exceeds the estimate.

Based on your communication below, are you requesting that the University undergo an estimate of the actual costs for your request?

Thank you very much,

Scott

From: Drone Watch

Yes, please conduct the cost estimate.

Thanks,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: CORA CU Boulder

Hello Mr. Musgrave,

This message replies to your Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) requests, which are attached. You requested "...records related to the University of Colorado Boulder's application to the FAA for authorization to operate drones" as well as "...all contracts entered into by the University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences for UAV/UAS/drone services, research and/or equipment development, or invoices for the same...." As described in previous correspondence and in accordance with the Boulder Campus's open records policy, the University has undergone an estimation of the actual costs for this request, and anticipates that gathering public records responsive to your request will require more than one hour of retrieval and review time. As currently written, the cost estimate is $960.00 based upon 48 administrative hours at a rate of $20 per hour (a rate that is conservative considering the actual hourly rates of the administrators who would be completing this work are in reality much higher).

If you wish to proceed with your request as attached, we will require written confirmation that you wish to proceed in light of the estimated retrieval time and actual costs for gathering the records, and you will be required to pay the amount as a deposit prior to the University producing the records. The University will track the amount of time actually spent retrieving records and refund any portion of the deposit that exceeds the actual amount of time spent. Conversely, you will be charged at the quoted rate if actual retrieval time exceeds the estimate. Note that this estimate does not include reproduction charges, which are provided at the reduced cost of $0.15/page as outlined in the University's open records policy. This amount is not included in the deposit, but this additional cost will be factored into the final invoice when all materials are provided.

Lastly, if you wish to proceed with your request and upon receipt of your deposit, the University, pursuant to C.R.S. §24-72-203(3)(b), will require an extension of up to seven working days to respond to your request. This extension is necessary because University employees cannot reasonably gather or prepare the large volume of records within the three-day period without substantially interfering with their other public service responsibilities.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

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