Tacoma IED threats, investigations, and discoveries (South Sound 911)

Phil Mocek filed this request with the South Sound 911 of Pierce County, WA.
Est. Completion None


From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

All records of threats, investigations, discoveries, prevention, protection, response and recovery measures, and disposal of improvised explosive devices ("IEDs," also known as "bombs" but typically exclusive of those bombs which are commercially-manufactured by war contractors) in Tacoma, Washington.

As reported in [an August 26, 2014, Tacoma News Tribune article][1], the scourge of IEDs in the city of Tacoma was implied by a 2013 memo from Don Ramsdell, chief of Tacoma Police, to the city’s purchasing department, in which Mr. Ramsdell lobbied for expenditure of approximately $250,000 on equipment that "offers enhanced technological capabilities for the Tacoma Police Department Explosives Ordinance Detail (EOD) with IED (improvised explosive device) prevention, protection, response and recovery measures."

[1]: <http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/08/26/3347665_documents-tacoma-police-using.html>

I seek both records of the presumable prevalence of IEDs prior to acquisition of the IMSI catcher for which Mr. Ramsdell successfully lobbied and records reflecting the evaluation of the effectiveness of the device for its stated purpose. The public deserve to know that our money is spent wisely.

In an [e-mail to me dated September 26, 2014][2], in response to a PRA request I filed with Tacoma Police Department on August 29, 2014 (their identifier: 14-7634), Lisa Anderson, public disclosure assistant for Tacoma, Washington, wrote, "In response to your below request, reports related to incidents involving "bombs/IED's" can be obtained from South Sound 911. The City of Tacoma does not maintain these records." Upon her suggestion, I am now contacting you for the records to which she referred.

[2]: <https://www.muckrock.com/foi/tacoma-72/tacoma-ied-threats-investigations-and-discoveries-13191/#comm-101200>

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

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.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Phil Mocek

From: Robinson, Molly

Good Afternoon Mr. Mocek,

Am in receipt of your Public Record request that was originally sent to Chief Ramsdell at the Tacoma Police Department.

SouthSound911 is the Records department for the Tacoma PD, so I will be handling your request.

In order to better serve you however, I will need specific information in order to fulfill your request. We have only certain search capabilities and I want to ensure that I can locate exactly what reports you are looking for.

Can you please provide a time frame in which you would like me to look for any such reports.

Here are some of the searches that I can conduct:

---Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property with Explosive
---Intimidation - Threat to Bomb Business
---Intimidation - Threat to Bomb Individual

If you feel that your request falls into of those categories, please let me know ASAP (along with a time frame) so that I can get started on your request.

All reports (if any found) will be mailed. I do not have the capability of putting the information on a CD as well as it is not our agencies practice to email or fax reports. There is a 15 cent per page fee that we charge for supplies.

Again, I will get started on your request as soon as I hear back from you.

If you have any questions/concerns I am here Monday-Friday, 7a.m. to 3p.m. My direct number is 253-798-7529.

Molly Robinson
Records Specialist
South Sound 911


Records Specialist
South Sound 911 - Records
(253) 798-7529

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Robinson:

I received your e-mail of October 21. I am unsure of how to answer your questions. I originally placed this request with Tacoma Police Department. They informed me that responsive records were held not by their office, but by yours, so I filed an identical request with your office.

Given the large amount of money that Tacoma Police convinced Tacoma City Council to spend on IED prevention, protection, response and recovery measures, I trust that records supportive of the expressed need for such expenditure are readily available, and that similar records for the time since that expenditure was made are not only available, but have been studied by Tacoma staff to ensure that the expenditure resulted in a reduction of the prevalence of IEDs in Tacoma as planned.

I reiterate my request that responsive records be provided electronically.

To clarify: I have not requested and do not intend to request the creation of new records, but the copying of existing records. The Washington State Attorney General's [model rules for electronic records][1] state (p2):

"Making an electronic copy of an electronic record is not `creating' a new record; instead, it is similar to copying a paper copy. Similarly, eliminating a field of an electronic record can be a method of redaction; it is similar to redacting portions of a paper record using a black pen or white-out tape to make it available for inspection or copying."

In fact, those model rules encourage agencies such as yours to provide records electronically:

"Agencies are strongly encouraged to provide copies of electronic records in an electronic format. See RCW 43.105.250 (encouraging state and local agencies to make `public records widely available electronically to the public.')."

Further, I am authorized to specify that my preferred method of access to the record is an electronic copy. The aforementioned model rules for electronic records state (pp-6-7):

"Access to a public record can be provided by allowing inspection of the record, providing a copy, or posting the record on the agency's web site and assisting the requestor in finding it (if necessary). An agency must mail a copy of records if requested and if the requestor pays the actual cost of postage and the mailing container. The requestor can specify which method of access (or combination, such as inspection and then copying) he or she prefers."

[1]: <http://www.atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/Another/About_the_Office/Open_Government/Model%20Rules%20Electronic%20Records.pdf>

Should it be impractical to send the electronic file via e-mail, I am willing to pay actual cost of storage media (e.g., CDROM), postage, and shipping container. Alternatively, a variety of fully-electronic methods of delivery other than e-mail are available (e.g., FTP server, HTTP server, OnionShare, etc.). These are acceptable to me and would result in less work for you. It is completely unacceptable for you to convert electronic records to paper records for physical transportation to me. Please avoid such busywork and reduction of public utility of records provided.

Phil Mocek

From: Robinson, Molly

Your email is been forwarded to our Legal Advisor for further guidance. I will re-contact you as soon as I get his input. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in the meantime.

From: Robinson, Molly

Good Afternoon Mr. Mocek,

In response to your e-mail, let me just clarify that South Sound 911 holds all police reports for the Tacoma Police Department. However, all police reports are approved for release by Tacoma PD.

South Sound 911 Records Division would not know what records/analysis/information Tacoma PD presented to the Tacoma City Council to support their statement or need for funding on equipment that enhances technological capabilities. If this is the information that you are looking for, then you will need to send your request back to the Tacoma PD and specifically ask for that information. We are a records department and produce records as requested. For example, if you say that you need a report(s) that include IED, then I will do a search that contains IED verbiage and then if a report exists, produce it. If you give me a case number, then I can give you that report.

Also, I would like to reiterate that South Sound 911 does not fax or e-mail police reports. We do not provide records electronically. If you would like to speak to our attorney about the fee involved and method of delivery, please call Peter Beckwith at 253-798-2677.

Also, we have not moved forward with your request because I am still unsure of what information you want me to look for. In my previous e-mail a gave you examples of how I can conduct a search. I will also need for you to provide me with a time frame. Again, I can search the following:

---Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property with Explosive
---Intimidation - Threat to Bomb Business
---Intimidation - Threat to Bomb Individual

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me or call me Mon-Fri 0700-1500 at 253-798-7529.

Molly Robinson/South Sound 911 Records

From: South Sound 911

A fix is required to perfect the request.