Persistent Surveillance Systems Invoices (Metropolitan Police Department)

Brandon Smith filed this request with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC.
Tracking # 2016-FOIA-04844
Est. Completion Aug. 17, 2016
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Brandon Smith

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the District of Columbia Freedom of Information Act of 1974, D.C. Code Ann. § 2-531 et seq. ("D.C. Act"), I hereby request the following records:

All records responsive to the below requests dated from January 1, 2014 through July 28, 2016.
- The full documentation of all contracts or non-disclosure agreements (enacted OR IN EFFECT between the above dates) with the companies "Persistent Surveillance Systems" or "Vigilant Solutions"
- Copies of all invoices to or from these companies, and documents sufficient to show any and all disbursement of public funds to either company
- The full documentation of all contracts (enacted OR IN EFFECT between the above dates) with any company other than the two cited above, in which said company provides your department with equipment or services (including software) for 1. license plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions.
- Copies of all invoices to or from any company that fits the description in the prior paragraph, and documents sufficient to show any disbursement of public funds to any company that fits this description
- All emails between police department email accounts and users on the domains "pss-1.com" or "vigilantsolutions.com". (One example would be brian.schockley@vigilantsolutions.com. Users on the domain would be in the form of XXXXXXXXX@vigilantsolutions.com)
- All paper-based communications between your department and Persistent Surveillance Systems, and between your department and Vigilant Solutions. In asking for all paper and electronic correspondence, this request necessarily includes marketing materials and descriptions of product capabilities for any device, software, or access/capability this department has purchased. A circuit court judge in Illinois recently ruled that non-disclosure agreements signed by public bodies do not trump freedom of information laws when it comes to surveillance equipment/capability purchased by police. Citation:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/chicago-police-must-finally-produce-stingray-records-judge-orders/
- Documents sufficient to show all rules or regulations governing the use of products (hardware or software) that do 1. license plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions.
- The text of all agreements (whether formal, email, memo, or otherwise) between your department and any other public body or department that allows your department to use or access the capabilities of 1. license plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions.
- Documents sufficient to show the month and year your department first entered a program of scanning license plates or accessing a database of scanned plates, if it indeed has such a program (and end date of said program if it has ended).
- Documents sufficient to show the total number of license plates scanned in your department's jurisdiction (whether the jurisdiction in this case is precisely or roughly represented) since the department began its plate-scanning program or first purchased access to such a program
- Documents sufficient to show the month and year your department first entered a program of persistent aerial surveillance, if it indeed has such a program (and end date of said program if it has ended).
- Documents sufficient to show the number of plane-hours of aerial surveillance (excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions) purchased by your department within the dates at the top of this request. For example, one plane flying for four hours is four plane-hours. Two planes flying for four hours is eight plane-hours.
- Documents sufficient to show any attempt made by a representative of your department to inform the public about automatic license plate readers or persistent aerial surveillance. This could include but is not limited to records of town hall meetings, quotes from police spokespeople in local media, or text from the department's website.

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 15 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Brandon Smith

From: Kaufman, Donald

Dear Mr. Smith, This office is in receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Your FOIA Request Number is 2016-FOIA-04844.  Your assigned FOIA Specialist is Genet Amare. Pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 2-532, we have fifteen (15) business-days, subject to the possibility of a ten (10) business-day extension, to respond to the request as of the date of receipt.  More specifically, D.C. Official Code § 2-532(c) and (d) state: (c) A public body, upon request reasonably describing any public record, shall within 15 days (except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt of any such request either make the requested public record accessible or notify the person making such request of its determination not to make the requested public record or any part thereof accessible and the reasons therefor (d) In unusual circumstances, the time limit prescribed in subsection (c) of this section may be extended by written notice to the person making such request setting forth the reasons for extension and expected date for determination. Such extension shall not exceed 10 days (except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays). For purposes of this subsection, and only to the extent necessary for processing of the particular request, "unusual circumstances" are limited to: (1) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or (2) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among 2 or more components of a public body having substantial subject-matter interest therein. If you have any questions regarding your request, please contact the assigned FOIA Specialist at (202) 727-3721.  For ease of reference, we ask that you have your FOIA Request Number available when you contact our office. Donald Kaufman MPD FOIA Officer

From: Amare, Genet

Dear Mr. Smith,
We are unable to process your request within the time allotted, we are now invoking the ten (10) day extension that is provided under the FOIA statute.  Pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 2-532(d) and 1 DCMR §§ 405.2 and 405.3, we are providing you with written notice of our intent to extend the deadline for our response to the above-referenced FOIA request by ten (10) business days.  Thank you for your patience and understanding. Regards,
Genet Amare

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Good afternoon, Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your email. The subject matter experts are still searching their files for responsive records. When I receive the responsive records, I will process your request in the order in which it was received. Please be advised, our office is experiencing a backlog due to the number of requests we have received prior to your request and the voluminous nature of such requests. I will work diligently to provide a response to your request. Thank you for your patience and understanding, I apologize for any inconvenience this delay has caused you.
Regards,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Metropolitan Police Department
202-724-2437
genet.amare2@dc.gov<mailto:genet.amare2@dc.gov>

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Good morning, Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your email. The subject matter experts are still searching their files for responsive records. When I receive the responsive records, I will process your request in the order in which it was received. Please be advised, our office is experiencing a backlog due to the number of requests we have received prior to your request and the voluminous nature of such requests. I will work diligently to provide a response to your request. Thank you for your patience and understanding, I apologize for any inconvenience this delay has caused you.
Regards,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Metropolitan Police Department
202-724-2437
genet.amare2@dc.gov<mailto:genet.amare2@dc.gov>

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Good afternoon, Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your email. The subject matter experts are still searching their files for responsive records. When I receive the responsive records, I will process your request in the order in which it was received. Please be advised, our office is experiencing a backlog due to the number of requests we have received prior to your request and the voluminous nature of such requests. I will work diligently to provide a response to your request. Thank you for your patience and understanding, I apologize for any inconvenience this delay has caused you.
Regards,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Metropolitan Police Department
202-724-2437
genet.amare2@dc.gov<mailto:genet.amare2@dc.gov>

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Good afternoon, Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your email. The subject matter experts are still searching their files for responsive records. When I receive the responsive records, I will process your request in the order in which it was received. Please be advised, our office is experiencing a backlog due to the number of requests we have received prior to your request and the voluminous nature of such requests. I will work diligently to provide a response to your request. Thank you for your patience and understanding, I apologize for any inconvenience this delay has caused you.
Regards,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Metropolitan Police Department
202-724-2437
genet.amare2@dc.gov<mailto:genet.amare2@dc.gov>

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Good afternoon, Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your email. I have completed my review and your request is currently under final review by the FOIA Officer, Donald Kaufman. Once Mr. Kaufman completes his final review, we will provide a response to you. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Regards,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Metropolitan Police Department
202-724-2437
genet.amare2@dc.gov<mailto:genet.amare2@dc.gov>

From: Amare, Genet (MPD)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This email is in response to your above-listed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, in which you requested all records responsive to the below requests dated from January 1, 2014 through July 28, 2016.

1. The full documentation of all contracts or non-disclosure agreements (enacted OR IN EFFECT between the above dates) with the companies "Persistent Surveillance Systems" or "Vigilant Solutions;"
2. Copies of all invoices to or from these companies, and documents sufficient to show any and all disbursement of public funds to either company;
3. The full documentation of all contracts (enacted OR IN EFFECT between the above dates) with any company other than the two cited above, in which said company provides your department with equipment or services (including software) for 1. License plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. Aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions;
4. Copies of all invoices to or from any company that fits the description in the prior paragraph, and documents sufficient to show any disbursement of public funds to any company that fits this description;
5. All emails between police department email accounts and users on the domains "pss-1.com" or "vigilantsolutions.com." (One example would be brian.schockley@vigilantsolutions.com. Users on the domain would be in the form of XXXXXXXXX@vigilantsolutions.com);
6. All paper-based communications between your department and Persistent Surveillance Systems, and between your department and Vigilant Solutions. In asking for all paper and electronic correspondence, this request necessarily includes marketing materials and descriptions of product capabilities for any device, software, or access/capability this department has purchased. A circuit court judge in Illinois recently ruled that non-disclosure agreements signed by public bodies do not trump freedom of information laws when it comes to surveillance equipment/capability purchased by police. Citation: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/chicago-police-must-finally-produce-stingrayrecords-judge-orders/;
7. Documents sufficient to show all rules or regulations governing the use of products (hardware or software) that do 1. License plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. Aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions;
8. The text of all agreements (whether formal, email, memo, or otherwise) between your department and any other public body or department that allows your department to use or access the capabilities of 1. License plate scanning or reading or automatic photographing; 2. Aerial surveillance, excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions;
9. Documents sufficient to show the month and year your department first entered a program of scanning license plates or accessing a database of scanned plates, if it indeed has such a program (and end date of said program if it has ended);
10. Documents sufficient to show the total number of license plates scanned in your department's jurisdiction (whether the jurisdiction in this case is precisely or roughly represented) since the department began its plate-scanning program or first purchased access to such a program;
11. Documents sufficient to show the month and year your department first entered a program of persistent aerial surveillance, if it indeed has such a program (and end date of said program if it has ended);
12. Documents sufficient to show the number of plane-hours of aerial surveillance (excluding monitoring roadways for speed infractions) purchased by your department within the dates at the top of this request. For example, one plane flying for four hours is four plane-hours. Two planes flying for four hours is eight plane-hours; and
13. Documents sufficient to show any attempt made by a representative of your department to inform the public about automatic license plate readers or persistent aerial surveillance. This could include but is not limited to records of town hall meetings, quotes from police spokespeople in local media, or text from the department's website.

After due consideration, your first request is granted in part. Unfortunately, after a careful search, we were unable to locate any responsive records pertaining to requests one (1) through six (6) and eight (8) through thirteen (13). I have attached General Order 303.09 (License Plate Reader Program), which has been identified to be responsive to request seven (7). Furthermore, The Metropolitan Police Department does not have a contract with Persistent Surveillance Systems or Vigilant Solutions.

Please know that, under D.C. Official Code § 2-537 and 1 DCMR § 412, you have the right to appeal this letter to the Mayor or to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. If you elect to appeal to the Mayor, your appeal must be in writing and contain "Freedom of Information Act Appeal" or "FOIA Appeal" in the subject line of the letter as well on the outside of the envelope. The appeal must include (1) a copy of the original request; (2) a copy of any written denial; (3) a statement of the circumstances, reasons, and/or arguments advanced in support of disclosure; and (4) a daytime telephone number, an e-mail and/or U.S. mailing address at which you can be reached.

The appeal must be mailed to: The Mayor's Correspondence Unit, FOIA Appeal, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 316, Washington, D.C. 20004. Electronic versions of the same information can instead be e-mailed to The Mayor's Correspondence Unit at foia.mayor@dc.gov<mailto:foia.mayor@dc.gov>. Further, a copy of all appeal materials must be forwarded to the Freedom of Information Officer of the involved agency, or to the agency head of that agency, if there is no designated Freedom of Information Officer there.

Failure to follow these administrative steps will result in delay in the processing and commencement of a response to your appeal to the Mayor.

Sincerely,

Genet Amare
FOIA Specialist
Freedom of Information Act Office
Metropolitan Police Department

From:

Mr. Smith: This office is in receipt of your Freedom of Information Act(“FOIA”) request, which seeks: Email recordssufficient to show the last eight periodical (these are likely but notnecessarily monthly) newsletters sent from the Fraternal Order of Police to anypublic officer email address. FOIA requires that requests describe the records sought withsufficient detail to allow an agency employee familiar with the subject area ofthe request to locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort. More specifically, 1 DCMR § 402.4 statesthat: A request shall reasonably describethe desired record(s). Where possible, specific information regarding names,places, events, subjects, dates, files, titles, file designation, or otheridentifying information shall be supplied. We are seeking clarification as to several portions of your request. First, please note that the Fraternal Orderof Police is an outside organization, independent of the Metropolitan PoliceDepartment (“MPD”), and our office is not familiar with its newsletter (ornewsletters). Please provide the name ofthe newsletter in which you are interested. Second, for the same reasons, we are not familiar with the frequencywith which any newsletter is sent. Accordingly,please provide the time period for which the search is to be made. Finally, we need some clarification about the manner in which thesearch is to be requested. We arepresuming that “public officer email address” means the email address of asworn police officer. All our emailsearches are conducted by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (“OCTO”). OCTO is unable to conduct an “all-agency”search. Instead, we must provide OCTOwith a list of email accounts to be searched. In the case of your request, we do not know which, if any, police officersreceive a newsletter in their MPD email account. We can pick an officer at random and searchhis or her account (but that may or may not produce results). Otherwise, there is no practical method formaking the search. If we do not receive your written response clarifying these pointswithin ten (10) business days, we will not be able to comply with your request andwe will close our file on it. In themeantime, your request will be placed on hold and the time for our responsewill not accrue under 1 DMCR § 405.6. Donald Kaufman MPD FOIA Officer

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