Tennessee - Record Layout of Traffic Stop Data

Big Local News filed this request with the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel of Tennessee.


From: Vignesh Ramachandran

To Whom It May Concern:

I am the managing editor of Peninsula Press, a multimedia news website based out of Stanford University in California. We are working on collecting data on traffic stops and searches made by state patrols across the country, but I'm initially gathering information about what datapoints each state collects.

Pursuant to Tennessee's Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

I’d like to please request the record layout (the format of a data record, which includes the name, type and size of each field in the record) or data dictionary for your state’s records of traffic stops made on your roads. (What are all the datapoints you collect and keep record of when traffic stops are made?)

The requested data will be analyzed, eventually be made available to the general public and be used for editorial purposes. This request is not being made for commercial purposes. We kindly ask the request be filled electronically — via Excel or another database format. Data can be emailed to vram@stanford.edu or shared via a Dropbox link. In the event data has to be sent physically on a CD or thumb drive, please mail to Peninsula Press, Stanford Journalism Program, 450 Serra Mall, Building 120, Stanford, CA 94305.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 7 business days, as the statute requires.


Vignesh Ramachandran

Vignesh Ramachandran
Managing Editor, Peninsula Press
Stanford Journalism Program
email vram@stanford.edu
phone 650.723.0703
physical mail 450 Serra Mall, Building 120, Stanford, CA 94305

From: Open Records

This email serves as a written denial to your public records request. This office does not maintain the records that you are seeking. Additionally, this office does not serve as a clearing house for all public records requests made in Tennessee. It appears that you will need to make your request to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security<http://tn.gov/safety/section/thp>, Ms. Dalya Qualls (dalya.j.qualls@tn.gov<mailto:dalya.j.qualls@tn.gov> ).

The Tennessee Open Records Act provides the right of inspection to Tennessee citizens; I note your return address is in California. The custodian of the records requested will have the right to request from you proof of Tennessee citizenship. TCA Section 10-7-503(a)(7)(A) states:
The records custodian may also require any citizen making a request to view a public record or to make a copy of a public record to present a photo identification, if the person possesses a photo identification, issued by a governmental entity, that includes the person's address. If a person does not possess a photo identification, the records custodian may require other forms of identification acceptable to the records custodian.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Ann V. Butterworth
Open Records Counsel & Assistant to the Comptroller for Public Finance
Open Records Phone: (615) 401-7891
Open Records Toll free phone: (866) 831-3750
Fax (615) 741-1551

Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury
Suite 1700, James K. Polk Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243-1402

"The mission of the Comptroller's Office is to improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans by making government work better."

From: Dalya J. Qualls

Attached please find a response to your public records request.

Dalya J. Qualls | Deputy Communications Director
Department of Safety & Homeland Security
25th Floor
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., Nashville, TN 37243
p. 615-251-5131 c. 615-630-2738

From: Vignesh Ramachandran

Hi Dalya,

Thank you. I will be in touch with further questions.


Vignesh Ramachandran
Managing Editor, Peninsula Press <http://peninsulapress.com/>
Program Administrator, Stanford Journalism Program
email vram@stanford.edu <mailto:vram@stanford.edu>