Police department misconduct allegations and disciplinary proceedings

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Fallsburg Police Department of Fallsburg, NY.
Due July 1, 2020
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:

All materials and records describing and sufficient to show/disclose all allegations of misconduct made and all disciplinary proceedings taken against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency.

As described in the New York Freedom of Information Law, a record is "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes." Records kept in a digital or electronic form are also records, would be responsive to this request, and should be provided.

These records are typically required to be retained under the New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention_mu-1), including, but not limited to, item no. 365, which includes: "Investigative records and disciplinary proceedings, including but not limited to statement of charge, transcript of hearing, notice of decision, letter of termination or resignation, letter of reinstatement, record of appeal procedure, and correspondence." While materials under that schedule have a set retention of 3 years after the final decision rendered, this request and materials responsive to it include *all* records held in the possession of any office or individual employed or formerly employed by this policing agency, including those kept off-site, in digital form, and in personnel files.

Please note that any failure to provide all potentially-responsive materials and/or the destruction of materials potentially responsive to this request would be a violation of the spirit of the New York Freedom of Information Law, as well as unlawful under the New York FOIL and the terms of the attached litigation hold notice.

Materials responsive to this request include — but are not limited to — all complaints, reports, records of discipline and penalties, aggregate collections of complaint and disciplinary materials (spreadsheets, databases), investigatory materials, relevant related correspondence, photographs, video, other related evidence, proof of discipline or fulfillment of penalties, and all personnel materials (including those used in promotion, contract, and other employment negotiations and considerations) that reference or utilize misconduct allegations or disciplinary materials of any sort.

Materials responsive to this request include all complaints— internal, external, and civilian — and include records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident/complaint: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the investigation, investigatory materials, the disposition of the case, and any subsequent materials related to the execution of any resultant discipline. Responsive materials include all complaints and allegations against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency, regardless of whether that complaint or allegation resulted in any investigation or disciplinary action.

Responsive materials also include all records of use of force by officers, including records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the use of force, subsequent investigatory materials related to the use of force, the disposition of any investigation into the incident, and any subsequent materials related to the use of force.

Please provide materials on a rolling basis, beginning with materials created during the following timeframes:
• January 1, 2010 - June 15, 2020
• January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2010
• January 1, 1990 - January 1, 2000
• January 1, 1980 - January 1, 1990
• January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1980

Pursuant to NYCRR Section 1401.5(c)(1), should any of this request be unclear or lack sufficient description for your office, please provide direction that would enable this requester to request records reasonably described. Please also note that the New York FOIL states: "An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy...." Please also see FOIL AO 19671, an Advisory Opinion from the Committee on Open Government [https://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f19671.htm].

If your office has questions about this request or would like to discuss it for any reason, please contact this requester via the contact email address provided and feel free to follow up by phone: 617-299-1832. This request is being submitted to each policing agency in New York as part of a collaborative project led by MuckRock and involving multiple other educational and journalistic partners and participants. For this reason, over the lifetime of this request, your agency may interface with individuals not listed on this initial communication.

This request is being made in the public interest by a news organization as part of non-profit (not commercial) journalistic work and research on behalf of the public. In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request and as part of the necessary negotiations for successful processing. As far as it is possible, please fulfill elements of this request 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 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Beryl Lipton

From: Mateo Estling

19 Railroad Plaza, South Fallsburg, NY 12779

September 10, 2020

Dear Chief Williams

This summer the Fallsburg Police Department was sent a request for records filed under New York’s open records law (FOIL). Additionally, there have been five follow ups requests for the information. To date, the Town of Fallsburg has been unresponsive, in direct conflict with state law. As you know, government agencies that do not respond may be subject to fines and/or court fees for failure to comply with a lawful request.

Under the possibility that the original request and follow ups were misdirected, we are repeating the request and broadening the recipients. Please respond within five days as the law allows:

All materials and records describing and sufficient to show/disclose all allegations of misconduct made and all disciplinary proceedings taken against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency.
As described in the New York Freedom of Information Law, a record is "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes." Records kept in a digital or electronic form are also records, would be responsive to this request, and should be provided.

These records are typically required to be retained under the New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention_mu-1), including, but not limited to, item no. 365, which includes: "Investigative records and disciplinary proceedings, including but not limited to statement of charge, transcript of hearing, notice of decision, letter of termination or resignation, letter of reinstatement, record of appeal procedure, and correspondence." While materials under that schedule have a set retention of 3 years after the final decision rendered, this request and materials responsive to it include *all* records held in the possession of any office or individual employed or formerly employed by this policing agency, including those kept off-site, in digital form, and in personnel files.

Please note that any failure to provide all potentially-responsive materials and/or the destruction of materials potentially responsive to this request would be a violation of the spirit of the New York Freedom of Information Law, as well as unlawful under the New York FOIL and the terms of the attached litigation hold notice.
Materials responsive to this request include — but are not limited to — all complaints, reports, records of discipline and penalties, aggregate collections of complaint and disciplinary materials (spreadsheets, databases), investigatory materials, relevant related correspondence, photographs, video, other related evidence, proof of discipline or fulfillment of penalties, and all personnel materials (including those used in promotion, contract, and other employment negotiations and considerations) that reference or utilize misconduct allegations or disciplinary materials of any sort.

Materials responsive to this request include all complaints— internal, external, and civilian — and include records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident/complaint: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the investigation, investigatory materials, the disposition of the case, and any subsequent materials related to the execution of any resultant discipline.

Responsive materials include all complaints and allegations against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency, regardless of whether that complaint or allegation resulted in any investigation or disciplinary action.

Responsive materials also include all records of use of force by officers, including records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the use of force, subsequent investigatory materials related to the use of force, the disposition of any investigation into the incident, and any subsequent materials related to the use of force.

Please provide materials on a rolling basis, beginning with materials created during the following timeframes:
• January 1, 2010 - June 15, 2020
• January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2010
• January 1, 1990 - January 1, 2000
• January 1, 1980 - January 1, 1990
• January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1980

Pursuant to NYCRR Section 1401.5(c)(1), should any of this request be unclear or lack sufficient description for your office, please provide direction that would enable this requester to request records reasonably described. Please also note that the New York FOIL states: "An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy...." Please also see FOIL AO 19671, an Advisory Opinion from the Committee on Open Government [https://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f19671.htm].

If your office has questions about this request or would like to discuss it for any reason, please contact this requester via the contact email address provided and feel free to follow up by phone: 617-299-1832. This request is being submitted to each policing agency in New York as part of a collaborative project led by MuckRock and involving multiple other educational and journalistic partners and participants. For this reason, over the lifetime of this request, your agency may interface with individuals not listed on this initial communication.

This request is being made in the public interest by a news organization as part of non-profit (not commercial) journalistic work and research on behalf of the public. In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request and as part of the necessary negotiations for successful processing. As far as it is possible, please fulfill elements of this request electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

This request was initially submitted as part of a collaborative academic and journalistic research project conducted in the public interest. As part of this collaboration, multiple individuals may contact you from a number of partner organizations, including but not limited to MuckRock and Syracuse University, and other partner organizations may respond or request clarification regarding this request. It would be appreciated if all messages coming from the MuckRock address associated with this request be honored as a proper communication in our correspondence on this request.

Regards,

Mateo Estling in collaboration with MuckRock, Syracuse University, and additional newsroom partners

From: Fallsburg Police Department

Friday, September 11, 2020

Good morning,

My Police Chief forwarded me your email regarding a Freedom of Information Request that you had sent out sometime this past summer. Please note: I am the FOIL Officer for the Town of Fallsburg and I have never received such a request.

Please complete the attached application and get it back to me at your convenience and I will process accordingly.

Have a *´¨).•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´* Wonderful Day
Donna M. Akerley
Town of Fallsburg Town Clerk,
Land Tax Collector, Registrar,
RMO, FOIL Officer, Marriage Officer,
Elections Officer, Website Manager,
Notary Public & Licensing Officer
PO Box 2019
19 Railroad Plaza
South Fallsburg, NY 12779
(845) 434-8810 Ext. 301 p
(845) 434-8809 f
www.townoffallsburg.com
donna@fallsburgny.com

Notice of Confidentiality - Town of Fallsburg
This E-mail message and its attachments (if any) are intended solely for the use of the addressee hereof. In addition, this message and the attachments may contain information that is confidential, privileged, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are prohibited from reading, disclosing, reproducing, distributing, disseminating, or otherwise using this transmission. Delivery of this message to any person other than the intended recipient is not intended to waive any right or privilege. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender by reply E-mail and immediately delete this message from your system. The sender believes that this E-mail and any attachments were free of any virus, worm, Trojan horse, and/or malicious code when sent. This message and its attachments could have been infected during transmission. By reading the message and opening any attachments, the recipient accepts full responsibility for taking protective and remedial action about viruses and other defects. The sender and the sender's employer is/are not liable for any loss or damage arising in any way from this message or its attachments.

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I hereby request the following records:

All materials and records describing and sufficient to show/disclose all allegations of misconduct made and all disciplinary proceedings taken against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency.

As described in the New York Freedom of Information Law, a record is "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or discs, rules, regulations or codes." Records kept in a digital or electronic form are also records, would be responsive to this request, and should be provided.

These records are typically required to be retained under the New York State Records Retention and Disposition Schedule MU-1 (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention_mu-1), including, but not limited to, item no. 365, which includes: "Investigative records and disciplinary proceedings, including but not limited to statement of charge, transcript of hearing, notice of decision, letter of termination or resignation, letter of reinstatement, record of appeal procedure, and correspondence." While materials under that schedule have a set retention of 3 years after the final decision rendered, this request and materials responsive to it include *all* records held in the possession of any office or individual employed or formerly employed by this policing agency, including those kept off-site, in digital form, and in personnel files.

Please note that any failure to provide all potentially-responsive materials and/or the destruction of materials potentially responsive to this request would be a violation of the spirit of the New York Freedom of Information Law, as well as unlawful under the New York FOIL and the terms of the attached litigation hold notice.

Materials responsive to this request include — but are not limited to — all complaints, reports, records of discipline and penalties, aggregate collections of complaint and disciplinary materials (spreadsheets, databases), investigatory materials, relevant related correspondence, photographs, video, other related evidence, proof of discipline or fulfillment of penalties, and all personnel materials (including those used in promotion, contract, and other employment negotiations and considerations) that reference or utilize misconduct allegations or disciplinary materials of any sort.

Materials responsive to this request include all complaints— internal, external, and civilian — and include records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident/complaint: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the investigation, investigatory materials, the disposition of the case, and any subsequent materials related to the execution of any resultant discipline. Responsive materials include all complaints and allegations against any officer, employee, or representative of this policing agency, regardless of whether that complaint or allegation resulted in any investigation or disciplinary action.

Responsive materials also include all records of use of force by officers, including records disclosing the names, badge numbers, and personnel identification of each officer involved and/or serving as a witness, as well as all available details of the incident: date, time, location, nature of the incident, description of the incident, nature of the use of force, subsequent investigatory materials related to the use of force, the disposition of any investigation into the incident, and any subsequent materials related to the use of force.

Please provide materials on a rolling basis, beginning with materials created during the following timeframes:
• January 1, 2010 - June 15, 2020
• January 1, 2000 - January 1, 2010
• January 1, 1990 - January 1, 2000
• January 1, 1980 - January 1, 1990
• January 1, 1970 - January 1, 1980

Pursuant to NYCRR Section 1401.5(c)(1), should any of this request be unclear or lack sufficient description for your office, please provide direction that would enable this requester to request records reasonably described. Please also note that the New York FOIL states: "An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis if the agency may engage an outside professional service to provide copying, programming or other services required to provide the copy...." Please also see FOIL AO 19671, an Advisory Opinion from the Committee on Open Government [https://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f19671.htm].

If your office has questions about this request or would like to discuss it for any reason, please contact this requester via the contact email address provided and feel free to follow up by phone: 617-299-1832. This request is being submitted to each policing agency in New York as part of a collaborative project led by MuckRock and involving multiple other educational and journalistic partners and participants. For this reason, over the lifetime of this request, your agency may interface with individuals not listed on this initial communication.

This request is being made in the public interest by a news organization as part of non-profit (not commercial) journalistic work and research on behalf of the public. In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request and as part of the necessary negotiations for successful processing. As far as it is possible, please fulfill elements of this request 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 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Beryl Lipton

From: Fallsburg Police Department

Friday, September 18, 2020 3:06 pm

Good afternoon,

I am in receipt of your FOIL Request and have forwarded same to corresponding Departments for
review.

I will be in touch just as soon as I have further information.

Have a *´¨).•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)

(¸.•´ (¸.•´* Wonderful Day

Donna M. Akerley

Town of Fallsburg Town Clerk,

Land Tax Collector, Registrar,

RMO, FOIL Officer, Marriage Officer,

Elections Officer, Notary Public

Licensing Officer

PO Box 2019

19 Railroad Plaza

South Fallsburg, NY 12779

(845) 434-8810 Ext. 301 p

(845) 434-8809 f

www.townoffallsburg.com

<mailto:donna.akerley@fallsburgny.com> donna@fallsburgny.com

Notice of Confidentiality - Town of Fallsburg

This E-mail message and its attachments (if any) are intended solely for the use of the addressee
hereof. In addition, this message and the attachments may contain information that is confidential,
privileged, and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient
of this message, you are prohibited from reading, disclosing, reproducing, distributing,
disseminating, or otherwise using this transmission. Delivery of this message to any person other
than the intended recipient is not intended to waive any right or privilege. If you have received
this message in error, please notify the sender by reply E-mail and immediately delete this message
from your system. The sender believes that this E-mail and any attachments were free of any virus,
worm, Trojan horse, and/or malicious code when sent. This message and its attachments could have
been infected during transmission. By reading the message and opening any attachments, the
recipient accepts full responsibility for taking protective and remedial action about viruses and
other defects. The sender and the sender's employer is/are not liable for any loss or damage
arising in any way from this message or its attachments.

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