|Submitted||April 3, 2017|
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Pursuant to the Florida Sunshine Law, I am requesting data and other records from your agency as part of a national reporting project on the use of stolen firearms in crimes.
From the Florida Department of Law Enforcement we obtained serial number, make, model and other information on firearms reported stolen by members of the public to your agency. We are requesting that your agency provide similar information for firearms that your agency has confiscated, seized, found, booked into evidence, or otherwise taken custody of so that we may explore the relationship between stolen guns and crime. We are also requesting that your agency provide records related to firearms that were reported lost or stolen from law enforcement officers in your jurisdiction.
I have broken the request into parts, each of which details the records 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 about seized and/or recovered guns, any guns in evidence, and/or any gun of which the department has taken custody
It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that were used in crimes, found at crimes scenes or other incidents, seized during investigations, booked property or evidence, or otherwise under the custody and control of the department, including the make, model and serial number of each gun.
We are therefore requesting the following records regarding firearms used in crimes, found at crime scenes or other incidents, booked into property or evidence, seized or confiscated during investigations or otherwise recovered or taken in by your agency:
-- The serial number, make and model of each gun
-- The date on which the department recovered, seized or took custody of each gun
-- The police report number for the crime and/or incident involving each gun
-- The type of crime or incident in which each gun was involved (e.g., homicide, robbery, assault, etc.)
Please include firearms for all offense and incident types, including homicide, robbery, assault, traffic stops, etc.
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. If a spreadsheet is provided, please also provide a record layout and/or code sheet. If a spreadsheet or database is not available, please release any other records containing the information we seek.
The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.
2) Detailed information on lost, stolen or unaccounted for law enforcement guns
It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that, while owned by the department or under the control and/or in the possession of their employees, went missing, were lost or stolen, or are otherwise unaccounted for.
We therefore requesting any and all records of department firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise unaccounted 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 or another law enforcement officer. For example, if a thief broke into an officer’s car or house and stole his or her firearm, we would like the report for that theft and any accompanying information. If an audit concluded that firearms were missing from inventory, we could like a copy of that audit. If an officer left a firearm somewhere or lost one somehow, we would like the report for that loss.
The information should include but not be limited to the following:
-- The serial number, make, model and caliber of each firearm
-- The location and address where the firearm was lost or stolen
-- The date of the loss or theft.
-- The date the loss or theft was reported
-- Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered
-- If the lost, stolen or missing firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery
-- A description of how the firearm was lost, stolen or went missing
-- 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, stolen or missing firearms
The records should include but not be limited to audits, inventory reports, databases, internal 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. I am a reporter with The Trace, a 501c3 nonprofit 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 records to the following address:
Attn: Brian Freskos
428 Broadway, 4th Floor
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
Investigations, The Trace
Per your request
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Thank you so much! And please pass along my thanks if anyone else also assisted. We really appreciate the work you all do!
We're in the cleaning phase of this project and realized there was an issue with the serial numbers in the data. If you open one of the spreadsheets, you'll see that serial numbers containing only numeric values are shifted to the right. This indicates that the serial number column was provided in a "General" number format. Microsoft Excel automatically deletes leading zeros from serial numbers that contain only numeric values when the data is in a "General" format. For example, a serial number that is actually 012345 will appear as 12345. In order to retain leading zeros, the serial number column needs to be in a "Text" format. The missing leading zeros could skew our analysis. Would it be possible to resend the data with the leading zeros present?
One easy way might be to download the data from your system in a .csv or .txt file instead of a .xls or .xlsx.