|Submitted||Feb. 15, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to North Dakota Constitution, Article XI, Section 6, and the North Dakota Open Records Statute, N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18(1), I hereby request the following records:
Copies of all photographs, pictures, audio, video or other recordings of protests and protestors taken or maintained by your agency and relating to the North Dakota Pipeline or to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
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.
I have been looking into your request. As requested as “all” items it is very broad. Due to most protest related cases still being open, the items requested are most likely exempt under NDCC 44-04-25. If you have a more specific day, timeline or case you would like information on, please let me know. Please be advised that the collection, redaction, and copying of the items will be a significant undertaking. To be able to satisfy the request and give you an accurate estimate on the costs associated with the collection, redaction, and copying, could you provide any further detail on which items you would like?
Captain Aaron R Hummel
Administrative Services Division Commander
North Dakota Highway Patrol
I suppose we can begin by excluding any cases where prosecution is pending, but to include cases where prosecution has begun and any cases where no prosecution is planned. Would that make significant difference? I'm open to any ideas you have about ways of excluding certain records that would almost certainly be held exempt anyway.
However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of your agency's handling of these cases. As I'm sure you're aware, the topic is rather controversial and there have even been debates about the nature of the behavior of the protestors. By making these materials available to myself, to other journalists and to the public, I believe we can dispel some myths and replace supposition with fact while gaining a better idea of how your agency has handled this rather controversial case.
Fees will be collected based on the following schedule:
25.00/hr after the first hour of collection
25.00/hr after the first hour of redaction
Copy Fees – Reasonable fees include, labor, materials, and equipment
There will be a significant amount of time spent on the collection/copying aspect. Our IT department has informed me that we have approximately 900 hours of video. The copying of these videos from our systems is not as easy as a drop and drag, the process will be approximately hour for hour of video. We will also need to cross reference with current cases. Many of the photos and video are used in multiple cases, some may be clear and others still pending. Coordination will be required of our agency with the state’s attorney in both Morton and Burleigh counties to ensure the information being released does not pertain to a pending case. The time to copy will also fall into the collection. To start the collection and copying process we will need to receive payment up front. Since the final amount of hours to satisfy the request us unknown, we would need payment for the conversion time we do know to even get started. Under NDCC 44-04-18, public entities may charge a reasonable fee for the costs to make the copy of the video. Those fees include labor, materials, and equipment. Labor for the copying process will be at rate the of 31.13/ hour, which is the current hourly rate of a Computer Network and Specialist II position, who would satisfy the request. The best estimate I can give you at this point is based on what we do know. Payment will need to be made up front in the amount of $28,017.00 (900X31.13). In the end, the final number may be more or less, dependent upon the actual time taken to copy the video and the time spent determining which video may or may not be released due to pending criminal cases under 44-04-18.7.
Please let me know how you would like to proceed. If you plan to move forward, we will begin the process to bring on the appropriate staff once payment is received. I would like to reiterate that the request is very broad in scope. Any specifics such as particular dates, locations, incidents, etc, may help to lessen the financial burden.
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