|Submitted||July 2, 2015|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the California's Sunshine Amendment (Cal. Const. Art. I, § 3(b)), I hereby request the following records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department:
1. Copies of all incident reports, (sometimes called "after-action reports"), pertaining to all of your agency's S.W.A.T. team deployments for as far back in time as such records exist. If the tactical operations unit in your agency goes by another name besides “S.W.A.T.”, (e.g. “TAC” or “PPU”), then please provide the above information for that unit.
2. If your agency or legal counsel determines that these reports contain sensitive information, and therefore cannot be released to the public in their entirety, I instead request the following:
a) The dates, reasons, locations, and outcomes (i.e. whether the deployment resulted in the use of force; and whether any S.W.A.T. members were injured during the deployment) of all S.W.A.T. team deployments for as far back in time as such records exist.
b) If possible, please provide the above information in a spreadsheet in which each row contains the following information: the date of each deployment; the reason for the deployment (e.g. "hostage barricade"; "warrant service"); the location of the deployment (the city or zip code in which the deployment occurred); whether the S.W.A.T. team used force on any individuals during the deployment; whether any S.W.A.T. team members were injured during the deployment.
c) If only some of these data fields are available, (for example, if dates and reasons can be supplied, but locations and data on the use of force and injuries cannot), then please fulfill the portion of my request for which data is available rather than reject the entire request outright.
3. If providing the responsive materials to items 1) or 2) is not possible, please instead provide me with annual counts of S.W.A.T. team deployments in all years for which records are available.
4. If your agency's S.W.A.T. team works in partnership with other jurisdictions (i.e., multiple city or county agencies contribute members to a common S.W.A.T. team), please provide me with the names of those other agencies, noting which agency commands the unit.
5. Please inform me of the date of the creation of your agency’s S.W.A.T. unit. If the exact date is not available, please provide me with the month or year of the unit's creation.
If this request should have been sent to another city employee or department, please forward my request accordingly, or reply and inform me as to where the request should be sent.
This request is being made for academic, not commercial, purposes, and the information it generates will eventually be made available to the general public. As such, I request that any fees generated by this request be waived. 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. If paper documents are the only option, please mail them to me at:
235 Olson Way, #404
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.
Dept. of Political Science
This message is in response to a hard copy letter I received (post marked July 8, 2015) from your agency stating that there are no responsive records to any portion of my request. I am concerned that this is not a good faith response to my PRA request. While some of the records I requested may be exempt from disclosure, the claim that a list of dates indicating when the S.W.A.T. team has been deployed does not exist for any time period does not seem credible. Many other city and county law enforcement agencies in the state have readily provided me with such lists, which are sometimes called "call-out" lists, for their S.W.A.T. teams. Surely the L.A. County Sheriff's Office documents the deployment of its S.W.A.T. team in some way, either in writing or in a digital database maintained by your agency and these dates should therefore be subject to the PRA. Specifically, the state Code section 6254(f)(2) specifically states that the "date" and "substance" of all law enforcement incidents are subject to disclosure.
I request that you reexamine my request and provide me with a call-out list indicating the dates of all S.W.A.T. team deployments for which data exists. If reasons for those deployments are also on file I request those be provided as well.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Dept. of Political Science
Mr. Mummolo – I sent an “outreach” to the handling unit regarding your concerns below and they stand by their response.