Video surveillance course materials

Brian Waters filed this request with the Vermont State Police of Vermont.
Due July 15, 2020
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Brian Waters

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Vermont Public Records Act, I hereby request course materials from a video surveillance training course taken by several state troopers in January 2019. In particular, I am requesting the following materials:
- The course syllabus.
- PowerPoint, overhead projector, or other slides.
- Any course notes provided by the instructors.
- Videos taken of the course, if applicable.
- Textbooks, articles, handouts, book chapters, or other reading materials.
- Copies of any tests, exams, quizzes, assignments, worksheets, or other materials completed by VSP students.
- Copies of personal course notes taken/written by VSP officers during the course.
- Any other course materials related to the course in question that you might identify during your search.

The course I am interested in is called "Video Techniques for Drug and Border Investigations", and was taught at the Shelburne Museum from January 8-10, 2019. The course was facilitated through the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center, a program of the National Guard. To assist your search, the instructor was Wadi Sawabini of Law Enforcement Video Training, a Shelburne-based training company. The onsite course host was Cpl. Jon Marcoux of the Shelburne PD. For reference, here is the entry for the course in the MCTC's course catalog: https://new.counterdrugtraining.com/default.aspx?act=EBCoursesDetail.aspx&startrow=1&coursesid=184&menuitemid=413&menusubid=.

The following VSP officers attended the course:
- Sgt. Dustin Robinson
- Trooper Sean Reilly
- Trooper Andy Todd
- Trooper John Behan
- Trooper Brandon Degre
- Trooper Eric Morgano
- Trooper Neil Carey
- Trooper Mike Defoire
- Trooper Erin Hodges

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. 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 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Brian Waters

From: Brian Waters

Hello,

I recently (on 6/22) submitted a public records request to your agency, by emailing it to Grier Martin. However, I have not yet received an acknowledgement. Perhaps Mr. Martin was not the right contact for public records. I am resubmitting the request to you (it should be reproduced below). Please let me know where to submit requests to your agency in the future.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Vermont State Police

Good afternoon -

Grier Martin left the Department of Public Safety last year. You may submit public records requests by email to Records and Alarms Administrator Heidi Storm at heidi.storm@vermont.gov<mailto:heidi.storm@vermont.gov>.

V/r,

Adam Silverman
Public information officer
Vermont State Police

From: Brian Waters

Hello, I recently submitted a records request to your agency (for materials related to a training course). However, I mistakenly emailed Grier Martin. Adam Silverman has since informed me that I should submit requests to you. The original request should be reproduced below.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Brian Waters

Hi Adam,

I recently reached out to you about a records request I had submitted to Grier Martin, for which I had not received an acknowledgement. You suggested I submit my request to Heidi Storm instead. On 7/2 (last Thurs), I re-submitted the request to Ms. Storm via email, but have not received an acknowledgement from her, either. Is there anything you can do to make sure that my request get processed?

Thank you,
Brian Waters

PS, the original request sought information about a video surveillance training course, and should be reproduced below.

From: Vermont State Police

Your best bet is to correspond directly with Heidi at the email address I sent you. Unfortunately I am not involved in the processing of public records requests.

~Adam

From: Brian Waters

Thank you, Adam. I assumed you were, as PIO.

- Brian Waters

From: Brian Waters

Hello Ms. Storm,

I recently submitted a records request to you (last Thursday, 7/2) after some confusion about who to submit it to. I have not yet received an acknowledgement, and so wanted to double-check that you received it.

The request sought information about a video surveillance course taken by a number of VSP troopers in 2019, and should be reproduced below.

Thanks,
Brian Waters

From: Brian Waters

Hello Ms. Storm,

I submitted a public records request to you on July 2, after seeking clarification from Adam Silverman on who to send public records requests to. On July 8, I wrote a follow-up after not having received an acknowledgement. I still have not received an acknowledgement. Today, I dialed the number under "records custodian" at https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests (which is 802-241-5351), and got a voicemail message from you, saying that you are working from home, but that the best way to reach you is via email. I am following-up once again in the hopes of getting an acknowledgement soon.

The original request should be reproduced below. If you cannot find it, please let me know and I will re-send.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Brian Waters

This is an appeal under the Vermont Public Records Act.

On July 2, I contacted Adam Silverman in order to submit a public records request regarding a training course attended by VSP troopers. Adam instructed me to contact Heidi Storm for records requests. Since July 2, I have emailed Heidi three times, and called three times. Her phone goes straight to voicemail and instructs the caller to email her, but she has not responded to my emails.

The state public records law requires agencies to respond to requests within three business days. It has now been 62 day total. This appeal seeks an immediate response to my request, which should be reproduced below.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Vermont State Police

Good morning.

My sincere apologizes for this records request. I am not sure what happened. I only received this one email and it was never taken care of. I am going to work on getting these materials together and will be in touch as soon as I have more information.

Heidi Storm
Vermont State Police
Records and Alarm Administrator
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests

From: Brian Waters

Hi Ms. Storm,

Sorry to go over your head like that. Thanks for getting back to me. I recently spoke to one other person who seemed to be having a similar experience trying to get in touch w/ VSP for a records request. I wonder if VSP's email system is having issues with MuckRock, or if they're just going to your spam folder?

Thanks,
Brian Waters

From: Vermont State Police

It's no problem, I'm really sorry that this slipped through the cracks.

So I spoke with our training division and the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Counsel and they advised that we would not have these records. They suggested contacting Midwest Counterdrug Training Center directly.

Again, I apologize in the delay of this request.

Heidi Storm
Vermont State Police
Records and Alarm Administrator
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests

From: Brian Waters

Thanks Heidi. Do you think the individual troopers listed would have personal copies? I believe those would still fall under public records.

Brian

From: Vermont State Police

Brian,

I am going to follow up with our members to see if they still have their materials, however I have been advised that this is likely proprietary. I will be in touch.

Heidi Storm
Vermont State Police
Records and Alarm Administrator
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests

From: Brian Waters

Thank you Heidi,

Brian

From: Vermont State Police

The materials are proprietary, I can ask if they have a certificate of completion, if that would be helpful?

Heidi Storm
Vermont State Police
Records and Alarm Administrator
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests

From: Brian Waters

Hello Heidi,

If the materials were obtained or produced by a police officer during their official duties (which includes training), then they're a public record, unless they fall under one of the exemptions to the public records act (and even then, they have to be provided, but with the exempt information redacted). Unfortunately, materials being "proprietary" doesn't overrule the records law.

It sounds like you've identified that some of the materials are in fact available, but are considered "proprietary." Given what I've pointed out above, I hope you can provide them in full.

Thanks,
Brian

From: Vermont State Police

I am still working on compiling what our members might have. So far none of the ones I have heard back from have these materials.

Heidi Storm
Vermont State Police
Records and Alarm Administrator
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671
https://vsp.vermont.gov/public/recordrequests

From: Brian Waters

Alright, thank you for your help on this Heidi. Keep me posted.

If the certificates of completion are a simple matter of sending them over, then by all means, we will take a look, but if you have to spend more effort searching for them or doing redactions, then don't bother. We're mostly interested in the course materials themselves, and don't want to waste your time.

Thanks,
Brian

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