Gang database, school policing, stop and frisk (Plymouth Police Department)

Joshua Dankoff filed this request with the Plymouth Police Department of Plymouth, MA.
Multi Request Gang database, school policing, stop and frisk
Est. Completion None
Payment Required


From: Joshua Dankoff

Dear Police Department Records Access Officer:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

1. Data sharing and cooperation agreements or memorandums of understanding between your police department and:
a. Federal immigration authorities.
b. Regional intelligence centers, including the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (“BRIC”) or the Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center.
c. School districts or individual schools in your jurisdiction, including policies that guide practice of School Resource Officers.

2. Policies concerning gathering and storing of gang information (or 'security threat group' or other related names of high risk individuals), including:
a. Policies for identifying and labeling gang members or individuals suspected of gang affiliation,
b. Policies for maintaining and verifying information contained in any “gang database.”
c. Policies for individuals to appeal listing on such a database
d. Policies related to the sharing of database information with other local or federal authorities.

3. Policies concerning stop and frisk and/or field interrogation.

4. For the time period January 1, 2016 to the date of this request, data for any person under the age of 21, all police documents sent to, transmitted to, or otherwise made available or accessible to:
a. BRIC and/or the Massachusetts Commonwealth Fusion Center.
b. Federal immigration authorities (including ICE, USCIS and/or any of their employees or agents.)

5. Stop and frisk and/or field interrogation data for all stop and frisk / field interrogation incidents from 2016 through when the search is conducted in 2021 is requested. We request raw data with personal identifying information redacted to protect privacy. However, we request that any redactions of personally identifiable information do not extend any further than necessary. In particular, we request incident-level data in CSV or excel format (or, if necessary another electronic format) that includes:

- Sex of individual(s) encountered
- Age of individual(s) encountered
- Race of individual(s) encountered
- Ethnicity of individual(s) encountered
- Location of incident
- Time and date of incident
- Source of the field incident report (ie did this report come in via a 911 call, or other means)
- Whether the field incident included a search of individuals.
- Outcome of field interrogation be included in the release, including whether it led to an arrest or not.
- Name of officer filing the field incident report (or other similarly named report)
- Badge number of officer filing the field incident report (or other similarly named report)
- Name of other officers listed in the report, if any
- Badge numbers of other officers listed in the report, if any

6. Data regarding how many people have been identified by your department as gang affiliated, gang involved, or part of a 'threat risk group'. To the extent possible, we request raw data with personal identifying information and addresses redacted to protect privacy. We request that any redactions of personally identifiable information do not extend any further than necessary.

Specifically, we request an extract of your department's gang member database (or associated list) to include the following columns:
- Sex of individual(s) on the list
- Age of individual(s) on the list
- Race of individual(s) on the list
- Ethnicity of individual(s) on the list
- Whether the individual on the list is a resident of your municipality or not
- Name of officer who entered the information determined that the individual fulfilled the gang assessment criteria
- Badge number of the officer who determined that the individual fulfilled the gang assessment criteria
- Date individual entered the gang database,
- Most recent date gang related information for the individual was reviewed or entered.

7. Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act (An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform, 2018 Mass. Acts Ch. 69.), school districts and law enforcement agencies must “specify the manner and division of responsibility for collecting and reporting the school-based arrests, citations and court referrals of students to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education” (DESE). (G.L. c. 71 § 37P(b). In turn, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education “shall collect and publish disaggregated data in a like manner as school discipline data made available for public review.” Id.
Please produce copies of the following public records,
a. Data on each school-related arrest conducted during the 2018-19 school year, and the 2019-20 school year per DESE’s collection;
b. Data on each school-related arrest and referral to law enforcement conducted during the 2017-18 school year, per the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection for that year;

Definitions of the terms "school related arrest" and "referral to law enforcement" can be found from U.S. Department of Education, Master List of 2015-2016 CRDC Definitions 18 & 20, at See also Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, School Safety and Discipline Report Data Handbook v. 20.0, at

8. Where no such records in the above categories exist, please provide a written statement to that effect.

With respect to the form of production, we note that relevant regulations require the production of records in an accessible, commonly used electronic form, to the extent feasible. See 950 CMR 32.04(5)(d). Record custodians are also required to implement new record keeping systems and databases in such a way as to allow for “retrieval of public portions of records to provide maximum public access.” See 950 CMR 32.07(1)(e). Extraction of such data from a database or electronic record system does not constitute creating a new record. See 950 CMR 32.07(1)(f). Printing these records from a database or electronic system, redacting them with a marker, and then re-scanning them, is generally not consistent with these regulations; this process provides the digital records neither in the preferred form nor in a “searchable machine-readable form.” 950 CMR 32.04(5)(d). If necessary, we welcome reasonable suggested modifications pursuant to 950 CMR 32.06(2)(g). Per Attorney Gen. v. Dist. Attorney for Plymouth Dist., 484 Mass. 260, 141 N.E.3d 429 (2020), compiling information from a database is not tantamount to creating a new record that would otherwise be precluded under public records law. Specifically: “Where public records are in electronic form, a public records request that requires a government entity to search its electronic database to extract requested data does not mean that the extracted data constitute the creation of a new record, which would not be required, under the public records law. " Id. at 442 to 443. Thus, we request that your department query its database and provide a response to the records request.

Should you determine that some portions of the documents are exempt from disclosure, please release any reasonably segregable portions that are not exempt. In addition, please note for any such redactions the applicable statutory exemption and explain why it applies to the redacted or withheld information.

I also request that fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. 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 look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.


Joshua Dankoff
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Citizens for Juvenile Justice

From: Plymouth Police Department

Mr. Dankoff;

The Plymouth Police Department in receipt of your request, as detailed below in your email received November 4th, 2021, concerning records and extracted data as specified in your request below. Please send all further correspondence to this email address, as I, Sergeant Benjamin Dexter, was designated as the Records Access Officer of this agency as of August of this year.

First, as some of the phrases and words used in your request may differ between their legal and casual or colloquial usage, we would respectfully ask you to please define the following terms:

1. “Stop and frisk”
2. “Field interrogation”
3. “Field incident”
4. “Stop and frisk / field interrogation incident”
5. “Threat risk group”

Due to the magnitude of this request and the amount of manual data extraction and compilation required to complete your request with the specificity demanded, we are unable complete your request within ten business days due to the anticipated amount of time required to search for, collect, segregate, and examine the records to ensure a thorough response. Currently our office is staffed by a sworn records supervisor and two civilian clerks, already working at capacity, with many of our duties involving important records-related functions besides responding to records requests. Multiple components of this request will require hours of manual data extraction, significantly impacting normal operations and responding to routine requests from other members of the public. Therefore, we are sending you this notice in order exercise our option to extend the deadline of your request by an additional fifteen business days as allowed by law. See G. L. c. 66, §10(a)(vi). If we can provide you with the requested record(s) sooner, we will do so.

While we are in receipt of your request to waive fees, for the same reasons noted above concerning disruption to normal operations, doing so is not possible at this time. It is our good faith estimate this request will take no less than 16 billable hours to complete (with the actual time being longer), triggering a fee for this request. As you may be aware, the Massachusetts Public Records law mandates that municipalities of our size may only charge fees for fulfilling requests in excess of two hours. Therefore, the fees include 14 hours of employee time. As this request is likely to be transmitted via email, no physical media cost is included. If you would like assistance in suggesting reasonable modifications to your request that might allow us to obtain the records you are requesting more efficiently and affordably, please notify us as we would be happy to assist you.

Additionally, due to the magnitude of your request, at this time we are unable to identify exactly which records are agency intends to withhold, either whole or in part, and which records we intend to produce due to the labor and effort required to merely search for and compile those records pursuant to your request. Nonetheless, it is our intention to provide you with all records in our possession not otherwise prohibited or exempted by law.

Please note there may be other agencies that may be in the possession of some of the records you are seeking, including Plymouth Public Schools, the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, and other agencies referenced in your request. However, any inquiry as to whether they will be able to produce them and do so in a shorter time frame should be directed to their respective Records Access Officers.

We are required to inform you that you have the right to appeal our decision to extend this deadline to the Supervisor of Records, at the address below. The appeal should include your original request along with this response.

Supervisor of Records
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

You also have the right to seek judicial review of an unfavorable decision by commencing a civil action in superior court.

In closing, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.

Sergeant Benjamin Dexter
Records Division Supervisor
Plymouth Police Department
20 Long Pond Road
Plymouth, MA 02360
P: (508) 830-4218, ext. 216
F: (508) 830-4227