|Submitted||Aug. 1, 2014|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:
All requests for appointment of railroad police officers, along with accompanying affidavits, indices of such, and associated metadata. This should include but not be limited to those applications made in accordance with [RCW 81.60.020], which requires that any "[a]ny railroad corporation desiring the appointment of any of its officers, agents, or servants not exceeding twenty-five in number for any one division of any railroad operating in this state as railroad police officers shall file a request with the criminal justice training commission on an approved application form," and that "[t]he application shall be signed by the president or some managing officer of the railroad corporation and shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the officer is acquainted with the person whose appointment is sought, that the officer believes the person to be of good moral character, and that the person is of such character and experience that he or she can be safely entrusted with the powers of a police officer."
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. 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.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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 5 business days, as the statute requires.
I acknowledge receipt of your request.
We have begun gathering responsive records, many of which exist on paper only. Once I have a page count, I will let you know the cost for those pages at 15 cents per page. You used the “waiver of fee” wording for the federal Freedom of Information Act, which does not apply to Washington State agencies. You correctly cited the Washington PRA, which has no fee waiver provision.
Any electronic records will be provided in electronic format.
I expect to respond to your request by August 14.
Greg Baxter, SPHR
Dear Mr. Mocek,
Under the Commission's authority to set training standards, we issued WAC 139-05-925 effective January 1, 2002. Since that date, rather than merely attesting to the applicant's moral character, the rail company enrolls the prospective officer in our 80-hour Equivalency Academy. Exception: Former Washington law enforcement officers who join a railroad while their Peace Officer Certification is still in effect (less than 24 months since separation) attend no further training before commissioning.
There are only 26 Railroad Police Officers commissioned by WSCJTC, and three applications pending. [See attached spreadsheet.] Of those 29 railroad employees:
* 9 had no Washington law enforcement background before admission to Equivalency Academy,
* 8 are former Washington Police Officers or Sheriff's Deputies, graduates of our 720-hour Basic Law Enforcement Academy,
* 6 became railroad employee before WAC 139-05-925's effective date,
* 4 are former Washington State Patrol Troopers, graduates of State Patrol Academy, and
* 2 are neither commissioned nor attending Equivalency yet.
I have thoroughly searched our paper and electronic records of the Railroad Police Commissioning Program and have attached the only applications still on file.
Greg Baxter, SPHR
I understand your response of August 7, 2014, to indicate that none of the affidavits required by RCW 81.60.020 to be submitted to Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission along with each request by any railroad corporation for appointment of any of its officers, agents, or servants as railroad police officer exists. Is this accurate?
We have not retained any application forms or affidavits, except those I copied to you.
Rail corporation employees are not "appointed" railroad police; they are commissioned as railroad police by us.
Greg Baxter, SPHR