|Submitted||Feb. 12, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to Florida's Sunshine Law (Fla. Stat. secs. 119.01 to 119.15 (1995)), I hereby request the following records:
Police incident or arrest reports for all crimes of aggravated assault recorded in 2016 (including descriptions of the incident).
Because aggregated statistics on these crimes are reported annually to the FBI under the Uniform Crime Reporting program by your agency, I believe you retain these records.
This request is made as part of the Documenting Hate Project, a collaboration involving dozens of news organizations including BuzzFeed News, led by ProPublica. Coverage from the project is compiled at https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/hatecrimes#hatecrime-coverage.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
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. 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 would request your response within ten (10) business days.
Science reporter | BuzzFeed News
tel: 415 800 3471
cell: 415 503 7323
989 Market Street, Suite 490
San Francisco CA 94103
Good morning Peter,
I am writing to acknowledge your public records request.
I created a request ticket (#W007280-021318 - Open Records Request) and will keep you apprised of any updates I receive.
Public Relations Agent
Miami Police Dept.
Public Information Office
Good morning Peter,
I am writing to update you on your request.
Our crime analyst generated a report for all crimes of aggravated assault recorded in 2016 that includes signal type, date/time, incident report# and address. In total, there were more than 1,300 of these crimes reported that year.
I know you requested the files electronically, but our records unit will undoubtedly print all these reports for me to review and redact exempt information. That also means you would be charged the 5cent per page duplication fee as well as a possible administrative fee for the time required to print/redact the reports.
I wanted to advise you of this before proceeding, as the cost might be prohibitive. Otherwise, you can simply request the aforementioned crime analyst report. Let me know.
Thanks for your reply of Feb 21. Can you advise, approximately, on the likely number of pages for the full incident reports?
Further to my earlier note, perhaps it would be useful to have a conversation about how your records are kept, and whether there is a way of obtaining the information I need from your electronic records/reports. The key information for me is the officer's narrative report of the incident. I know that some agencies, for instance the LAPD, do maintain electronic records that include brief summaries of officers' reports.
I will be busy with other projects on Thursday, but will try to call on Friday to discuss.
Science reporter | BuzzFeed News
tel: 415 800 3471
cell: 415 503 7323
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In regards to your earlier question, based on my experience, a typical incident report can range from 3-5 pages.
I don't think there our dept. maintains the types of electronic records you mentioned, but I can contact our records custodian to see if there is a way to extract the narrative portion of the reports.
I forwarded your email to our Records Custodian, and she basically confirmed what I thought: we can print only the narrative pages but generating a report for them is not feasible (unfortunately, our dept. is still very paper-based, a bit slow in going totally digital).
That said, it's still pretty going to be a little costly (1,303 reports x .05 per page duplication fee= $65.15). That would be the minimum-like I said they may charge an administrative fee.
Anyway, if you are still interested let me know and I will contact Records to start the printouts.
Thanks Orlando. I just called but missed you for the day. I think you are telling me that the narrative portion would typically be one page, yes? If you can get me a cost estimate including any admin fee then I should be OK to get that cleared as an expense an be good to go. Will try to reach you Monday.
Based on previous public records requests I've handled, Records generally calculates the Extensive Use Charges described in FL Ch119 at a rate of $24 per hour. I asked the Records Custodian to estimate how many hours of work it will take to review and generate more than 1,300 pages of report narratives, and she said she was unable to do so based on the extensive scope of work the project will entail.
But let's say hypothetically it takes 30 hours (a figure I'm basing on a previous request that was as relatively time intensive as your), at minimum you'd be looking at $720 fee (excluding duplication fees). But again this is all speculation since this is not an official quote. Let me know how/if you want to proceed.
Also FYI: Here's a snip of the Extensive Use Charges section that you might find helpful if, say, you wanted to re-request a formal quote; this however would require a down payment:
Thanks for taking the time to speak just now. As we discussed, I would like the records department to proceed drawing up a quote for my request. If there is a simple code or checkbox identifying incidents of domestic violence, allowing these records to be easily removed and to speed up processing time and reduce cost, please do so. If not, then please do send a quote for all of the originally requested records.
Attached are sample incident reports as you requested. Cheers!
Just checking in again. Thanks for the sample reports. As we already discussed, I would like to proceed with obtaining a quote for fulfilling the entire request.
If I need to make an initial downpayment, please inform me of how much, and how to make the payment.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Unfortunately, my email requesting a quote as well as an answer as to whether domestic violence incidents can be removed from the match received the following response:
There's a total of 1303 case numbers associated with the timeframe 1/1/2016 to 12/31/2016.
Alex attached the incident numbers to the request (please see attachment).
Please confirm the amount of incident reports for aggravated assault with Alex first before contacting the requester.
The cost per page is 0.15 and an administrative fee of $24.00 an hour will apply, based on the printing of the reports.
I also sent a follow-up email to the IT analyst about the DV cases but learned that he will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks. In that same email I emphasized that you are primarily concerned with the narratives, to see if only those pages could be printed (as you can see in the response, printing the reports seems to be the only way Records can fulfil your request).
My understanding from the FBI 2016 UCR is that there should be 2401 incidents of aggregated assault in 2016, see https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6-state-cuts/florida.xls
Does the discrepancy reflect the removal of domestic violence cases, or does the Miami PD use a different definition of aggravated assault for its own records than for the reports submitted to FBI?
Do you need any further information from me before letting me know the downpayment required?
The crime analyst just informed me this discrepancy is because the UCR counts "counts." In other words, one MPD assaults case may contain multiple charges and victims, which be counted only once in our CAD system, but multiple times in the UCR system. He informed me that the only way to obtain the narratives would be for our Records Unit to generate each individual report. He's also unsure if Records would be able to remove DV cases. Lastly, he said coming up with a quote/estimate would be virtually impossible given the sheer volume of reports. But he said would be willing to work with Records to minimize duplication fees but that it will involve numerous hours (which would reflect on the final invoice). He said to let him know if you wish to proceed. Cheers!
Apologies for the delay in replying - I'm afraid I was in Canada for a month involved in a court case.
I do wish to proceed, but I also do need some ballpark estimate of costs before doing so, because I have a budget ceiling for this project - I'm simply not in a position to agree to open-ended costs., without having any idea of what they might be.
Would it be possible to set up a conversation with the crime analyst to discuss how best to proceed?
Attention: Orlando Rodriguez
As we discussed just now, please do move ahead with the request. If the total cost approaches $1,000, please do contact me at that point for a review of costs.
If you need any deposit/downpayment, do let me know how much and how to make the payment.
Enclosed is the report the crime analyst generated in response to your request. As you can see, there were 1,303 aggravated assaults reported in 2016. However, the report does not include any incident report narrative info. I will advise the Records Unit that you would like to begin the process of generating the reports in order to include narrative info in this spreadsheet (minus domestic violence incidents, if possible)--- with the understanding that you are on a budget of less than $1,000 and do not agree to any open-ended costs.
I'll keep you posted.