Firearm Project, Osceola County, FL

Brian Freskos filed this request with the Osceola County Sheriff's Department of Osceola County, FL.


From: Brian Freskos


Pursuant to the Florida Sunshine Law, I am requesting data and other records from your agency as part of a national reporting project on the use of stolen firearms in crimes.

From the Florida Department of Law Enforcement we obtained serial number, make, model and other information on firearms reported stolen by members of the public to your agency. We are now requesting that your agency provide the make, model, serial number and other information on firearms that your agency confiscated, seized, found, booked into evidence, or otherwise took custody of so that we may explore the relationship between stolen guns and crime.

We are also requesting that your agency provide records related to firearms that were reported lost or stolen from law enforcement officers in your jurisdiction.

I have broken the request into parts, each of which details the records 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 about seized and/or recovered guns, any guns in evidence, and/or any gun of which the department has taken custody

It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that were seized, confiscated, recovered, found, turned in, booked into property and evidence, or otherwise came under the custody and control of the department. We are therefore requesting the following information about every such firearm taken in from Jan. 1, 2010 to the present:

-- The serial number, make and model of each firearm
-- The date on which the firearm was seized, confiscated, recovered, found, turned in, booked into property and evidence, or otherwise came under the custody and control of the department.
-- The police report number and/or incident number associated with each firearm
-- If readily available, the type of crime or incident involving each gun (e.g., homicide, robbery, assault, etc.)

If your agency maintains a spreadsheet or database containing these records, we ask that you please provide that spreadsheet. The Property and Evidence Section of the department may be able to provide such a record. It is fine if the spreadsheet contains more information than we are seeking, such as information about firearms accessories or other property that is not firearms; we will format the data and delete entries that we don’t need.

If a spreadsheet is available, we respectfully ask the department to provide the record layout and/or code sheet so that we can ascertain the meaning of column labels, acronyms and abbreviations. If a spreadsheet or database is not available, please release any other records containing the information we seek.

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

It is our understanding that law enforcement agencies maintain detailed records about firearms that, while owned by the department or under the control and/or in the possession of their employees, went missing, were lost or stolen, or are otherwise unaccounted for.

We therefore requesting any and all records of department firearms that were lost, stolen, went missing or are otherwise unaccounted for from Jan. 1, 2010 to the present.

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 or another law enforcement officer. For example, if a thief broke into an officer’s car or house and stole his or her firearm, we would like the report for that theft and any accompanying information. If an audit concluded that firearms were missing from inventory, we could like a copy of that audit.

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

-- The serial number, make, model and caliber of each firearm

-- The location and address where the firearm was lost or stolen

-- The date of the loss or theft.

-- The date the loss or theft was reported

-- Whether each lost or stolen firearm was recovered

-- If the lost, stolen or missing firearm was recovered, the date and location of the recovery

-- A description of how the firearm was lost, stolen or went missing

-- 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, stolen or missing firearms

The records should include but not be limited to audits, inventory reports, databases, internal reports, memos, internal affairs investigations, emails or other correspondence, and/or any other records.

I am a reporter with The Trace, a 501c3 nonprofit 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 records to the following address:

The Trace
Attn: Brian Freskos
428 Broadway, 4th Floor
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


Brian Freskos
Investigations, The Trace

From: Michele DiStefano

Good Morning Mr. Freskos

I have received and located the information you would need for your public record request. The report you would need detailing all firearms received in our evidence department is 437 pages and is unfortunately not available as a spreadsheet. It would take a half hour for evidence to compile the report you need. Any public record request which takes our staff more than 15 minutes to process includes a special service charge based on the actual labor cost for the information to be reproduced. Our agency charges the salary + benefits of the lowest paid person capable of completing the process. In this case the technician’s rate would $27.15 an hour, she would spend a half hour of time so the fee would be $13.58. I would also need to put the report on a CD-rom due to the size. There is a fee for the CD and postage to mail the request. The second part of your request is just one report, which I can include on the same CD. There is no charge for the incident report regarding the Deputies firearm.

Labor cost $13.58
CD $ 2.00
Postage $ 1.19

Total cost for production, supplies and mailing will be $16.77. If you would like an official invoice for this request, I can prepare one for you. If you are fine with the fees, I will have everything ready and send it to you upon receipt of the payment.

Thank you


From: Brian Freskos

We would like to proceed. Would you mind providing me an invoice so I can forward it to our accounting folks and ask them to put the check in the mail?

From: Brian Freskos

Hi, just wanted to follow up. Would you mind providing an invoice? Thank you, Brian

From: Michele DiStefano

I apologize, I was out of the office today, I will have the invoice sent over tomorrow.

Thank you


From: Brian Freskos


Did you get a chance to send the invoice? Thanks! Brian

From: Michele DiStefano

I’m so sorry, I haven’t had a chance but here are the files you requested and I will take care of the invoice in the morning.

Have a good night


From: Brian Freskos