|Oct. 20, 2016
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:
Any incident reports or police reports regarding supposed paranormal sightings in the area including, but not limited to:
-The redheaded hitchhiker
-The "mad trucker"
-The phantom allegedly spotted in Hockomock swamp
-Native American ghosts (dancing or not)
-Murders/bodies found in Freetown State Forest
I also request that, if appropriate, 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. 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.
I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.
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 calendar days, as the statute requires.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Oct. 20, 2016. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
The Taunton Police Department maintains a computerized record system going back about 12 years. This system is generally fully searchable. For approximately 20 years prior to the current system, the department utilized a different computer system will limited search capabilities with the requirement that a computer screen shot be checked against a physical document to determine relevancy. Prior to that it was pen or typewriter for which we have no indexing system. A review of all department records for the material requested would likely take thousands of hours. You have requested reports of "supposed paranormal sightings". However your search criteria is not sufficient enough to provide a match on your request. We do not classify incidents as "paranormal".
I have tried word based searches upon the words or phases provided and have produced no reports in the current system. Relative to the award "paranormal", I have located one arrest record for a group trespassing at the Paul Dever State School investigating "paranormal activity". I am not sure if this request meets your requirement.
Edward James Walsh, Esq. Chief of Police
Taunton Police Department
23 Summer Street
Taunton, MA 02780
(508) 821-1471 x120
Regional Chair Northeast Region International Association of Chiefs of Police Midsized Agencies Section
Hi Chief Walsh,
I would appreciate it if you could send me the arrest record for the group caught investigating paranormal activity at Paul Dever State School. Thanks!
I understand that you do not classify incidents as "paranormal," but if you could provide any records in which a citizen alleged paranormal activity, that would be great. Another search term you could try is "occult," which I apologize for not including in my initial request.
With regard to records from 20 or more years ago, during which it was "pen or typewriter for which we have no indexing system," can you tell me how the department searches for records from this period without an indexing system? Does the department have a system for retrieving records for 20 or more years ago? Are there any plans to try and digitize the records in the future so that they are more easily searchable? Thanks!
A copy of documents responsive to the request.