Firearm Project, Maine State Police

Brian Freskos filed this request with the Maine State Police of Maine.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Ben Hallman

Hi,

Pursuant to the state’s public records law, I am requesting access to and copies of records from your agency as part of our continuing coverage of gun trafficking. I have broken the request into three parts, each of which details the records that 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 on stolen guns

It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies keep detailed records about firearms that were reported stolen by the citizens they serve. We are therefore requesting the following for each case of reported firearm theft in your jurisdiction:

-- The police report number and/or incident number for the firearm theft
-- The serial number, make, model, caliber, type and any other descriptive information for each firearm that was reported stolen

We would appreciate if this data was provided in a spreadsheet. If a spreadsheet is provided, please provide any record layout and/or code sheets.

The date range for this part is January 1, 2010 to the present.

2) Detailed information about crime guns

Second, it is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that were used in crimes, recovered at crimes scenes or seized during investigations in their jurisdictions, including the make, model and serial number of each gun. We are therefore requesting the following:

-- The following records regarding firearms used in crimes in your agency’s jurisdiction, recovered at crime scenes or seized during investigations: the make, model, and serial number of each gun; the date of the crime; the police report number for the crime; the type of crime the firearm was used in; and the address where the crime was committed.

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 where each row represents one case, the same as part 1) “Detailed information about stolen guns.”

I would like to note that we are not at this time seeking copies of police reports or any other investigative records associated with these crimes; we are only seeking information about the firearms used and some general information about the crimes that is generally released to the public.

The date range for this part is also January 1, 2010 to the present.

3) Detailed information on lost, stolen or unaccounted for law enforcement guns

Finally, it is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that, while under the control and/or in the possession of their employees, went missing, were lost or stolen, or are otherwise accounted for. Therefore we request the following:

-- Any and all records of department-issued firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise accounted 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.

The records should include but not be limited to the following:

• The make, model, serial number and caliber of each lost or stolen firearm
• The location and address where the firearm was stolen
• The date of the loss or theft.
• The date the lost or theft was reported
• Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered
• If the lost or stolen firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery
• A description of how the firearm was lost or stolen
• 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 or stolen firearms

The records should include but not be limited to databases, 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. As a 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 request to the following address:

The Trace (at WeWork)
Attn: Brian Freskos
428 Broadway
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

Sincerely,

Brian Freskos

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

This email is sent to acknowledge the Maine State Police’s receipt of your Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”) request copied below.

We will respond further soon. Please note at this time, however, that access to what, if any, records we have that are responsive to your request that by law are confidential or otherwise not publicly accessible, will be denied.

Respectfully,

Chris

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image003.png@01D2337B.193DA4F0]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

This email further responds to your FOAA request for certain records from our agency, as those are described in your email copied below.

The Maine State Police has no records responsive to your request.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image004.png@01D23385.A344FCC0]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Ben Hallman

Hi Mr. Parr,

I want to follow up with the response to this request as I believe there must be at least some responsive documents. While we requested data be sent in a specific format in some instances, we understand that Maine public records law does not require the state police to create records. However, information we are seeking may be contained in other formats already under the control of the department. I have enumerated below what kind of documents may satisfy this request:

1) Detailed information on stolen guns

Any copies of reports for stolen firearms, any information on the make, model, serial number of other descriptive details of stolen firearms reported to the Maine State police as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting program, any investigative records of stolen firearms listing such information and not prohibited from release by Title 16, chapter 9 of the Maine Revised Statutes.

2) Detailed information on recovered guns

Any reports, documents or investigative records containing descriptive information of guns recovered during investigations by Maine State Police or such records shared with Maine State Police by other law enforcement agencies. The Major Crimes Unit, for example, investigates homicides and other crimes that likely have resulted in firearms being seized as evidence. The Crime Lab also receives evidence that includes the case number, case synopsis, offense, location and date of incident, individual involved including DOB, and the primary investigator.

3) Detailed information on lost or stolen law enforcement guns

Any and all records, including reports of thieves breaking into Maine State Police motor vehicles or homes and stealing firearms, audits or checks of Maine State Police weapon inventories, emails or text messages involving the loss or theft of Maine State Police firearms.

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

Thank you for your email.

As to that part of your FOAA request for “[d]etailed information on stolen guns”:

Based on your email of today, it appears you are requesting individual Maine State Police investigative records and Uniform Crime Reporting reports that contain information responsive to this first part of your request (as stated in your initial email copied below of 31 October 2016).

As to that part of your FOAA request for “[d]etailed information on recovered guns”:

Based on your email of today, it appears you are requesting individual Maine State Police investigative records (including, but not limited to, Major Crime Unit and Maine State Police Crime Laboratory records), as well as records we might have from other law enforcement agencies, that contain information responsive to this second part of your request (as stated in your initial email copied below of 31 October 2016).

As to that part of your FOAA request for “[d]etailed information on lost or stolen law enforcement guns”:

Based on your email of today, it appears you are requesting individual law enforcement investigative records we might have from our own or other law enforcement agencies, audit reports, emails, and text messages, that contain information responsive to this third part of your request (as stated in your initial email copied below of 31 October 2016).

Understanding the above to be the case, I will make some inquiries here and then contact you.

If my understanding of your FOAA request as re-stated above is incorrect, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image002.png@01D23435.B08AE790]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

By way of further responding to your FOAA request:

During the period specified our agency has not had an incident of a lost or stolen firearm issued to a Maine State Police officer; thus we have no records responsive to the third part of your FOAA request.

In case the information in it might be helpful in any way for you to have, however, please reference the attached document I am sending to you.

I will respond further soon with regard to the first and second parts of your FOAA request.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image002.png@01D23449.792858F0]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you for providing that document. Please let me know about parts 1 and 2.

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

This email further responds to your FOAA request, copied below.

With respect to the first and second parts of your request:

We estimate that a minimum of 318 hours would be needed to search for, ascertain, and review records that might have information responsive in whole or part to these parts of your request. (Additional time likely would be needed to prepare redacted versions of those records, when necessary.)

The fee that would be charged to conduct that work would be approximately $4,755, at a minimum.

Further, given the day-to-day work our agency has in the normal course of business (including, but not limited to, work on other FOAA requests), I anticipate that we would need a minimum of 10 to 14 months to process your request.

Given the above information, at your convenience, please let me know how you would like to us to proceed, including, but not limited to, whether you want to in any way narrow the scope of your FOAA request.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image003.png@01D234E0.F0212B70]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Ben Hallman

Hi Mr. Parr,

Please provide more detail on why it would take 318 hours to fill this request so that I may figure out a way to narrow it. Which aspects are expected to take the longest? What does staff have to do to search and compile the documents?

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

This email further responds to your FOAA request, as copied in the initial email that appears below.

As you know, in your most recent email to me, you asked for more detail on why our agency estimates that it would take a minimum of 318 hours to fulfill parts 1 and 2 of your FOAA request.

According to the MSP Records Management Unit, which was able to run an electronic query of our records system, there are 821 matching investigative case reports with a “stolen weapon.” The Unit has no way of determining if the weapon involved in each case is a firearm, knife, bow, or other type of weapon, without looking at the case reports individually. Once those reports were reviewed to determine what kind of weapon (or weapons) were involved in each, the Unit then would have to go into more in depth in all the pertinent cases and parse out the information responsive to the FOAA request. The majority of this information would be located in the “item section” of each report, but other information (such as location, owner info, and especially case synopsis) could take quite a bit of time to determine. The Unit estimates that that work alone would likely take the Unit at least 68 work hours.

Further, the above explanation of work is only with respect to stolen weapons; the Unit has no similar report to run on recovered items, so it has no way of easily conducting a search. (The Unit also has no similar report to run on seized items, so that presents a similar problem.) The only way to feasibly conduct such searches with the Unit’s existing system would be for the Unit to individually review approximately 800,000 case reports. As I am sure you can imagine, such an effort would be time- and cost-prohibitive.

According to the MSP Crime Laboratory, the Lab would have approximately 5,000 records to review manually for the timeframe provided in order to determine if a firearm was involved in each case. (The Lab is unable to conduct a general, electronic query because firearm items of evidence could be submitted by law enforcement agencies as a “.45 Pistol”, “Glock handgun”, “Glock”, “handgun”, “firearm,” as examples.*)(*The Lab copies the exact description officers collecting items of evidence provide on the packaging in which the item is submitted to the Lab.)

The Lab would have to print out the reports containing the information requested, which would then need to be reviewed to determine the extent to which – if at all – the records could be publicly disclosed pursuant to applicable law, including, e.g., the Intelligence and Investigative Record Information Act (16 M.R.S. c. 9).

The Lab estimates that, assuming each review of the individual Lab records took 3 minutes, it would take approximately 250 hours to complete its work on the request, and other work (including the work of reviewing the reports, as just described) still would need to be conducted.

The above said:

I noticed for the first time as I was preparing this email that the Lab had informed me that it maintains an Excel spreadsheet that has make, model, action, serial number, caliber, item number, and lab number information in it (all of that information relating to firearms), but that does not contain the other information you’ve requested.

We would be happy to provide a copy of the publicly accessible information from that record, if you would like to have it.

In any case, I hope this information is helpful.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image003.png@01D235B3.E4DFB550]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you Mr. Parr. I appreciate your help on this request. I'm not going to be able to get approval for $4,775 but please send me the Excel spreadsheet and I'll have a look and get back to you.

From: Parr, Christopher

I understand.

I will send to you a copy of the information in that document that is publicly accessible as soon as time allows.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image003.png@01D235C3.7BAF3320]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Parr, Christopher

Dear Mr. Freskos:

Attached please find a copy of the MSP Crime Laboratory spreadsheet you requested.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
MAINE STATE POLICE
45 COMMERCE DRIVE, SUITE 1
AUGUSTA, ME 04333-0042

[cid:image003.png@01D23FEC.E4D1EB80]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

From: Ben Hallman

Thank you so much!

Just to be sure, what kinds of guns are these? Stolen? Recovered? All of the above?

Also, I was just reading over your previous message again and you said there were 821 reports of a "stolen weapon," but staff would have go through and parse out the information to my request. Would I be able to just get all those reports in a big .pdf document? Then I could go through and parse out the information.

From: Ben Hallman

Hi Mr. Parr,

Just wanted to get an answer to my previous question. The guns contained in the MSPCL record spreadsheet you sent me, are those stolen or seized weapons, or both

From: Parr, Christopher

To Whom It May Concern:

Without doing research the FOAA does not require, we would be unable to state the origin of the firearms included on the list we provided.

As for your question below of 16 November 2016 that, until this morning, I do not recall having seen previously, we would be unable to release the reports of a “stolen weapon” to you in nonredacted format.

Respectfully, C

CHRISTOPHER PARR
STAFF ATTORNEY | MAINE STATE POLICE
(e) christopher.parr@maine.gov<mailto:christopher.parr@maine.gov>

[cid:image003.png@01D2577D.9D208B90]

This e-mail, and any attachments thereto, may contain information that is confidential by law and/or information that is protected by attorney-client privilege. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS E-MAIL IN ERROR, PLEASE CONTACT me WITH A REPLY E-MAIL at the earliest convenience. Thank you.

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