Watertown, CT's 1033 Vehicle Training Plan

Daniel Welch filed this request with the Watertown Police Department of Watertown, CT.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 2015-531
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Daniel Welch

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), I hereby request the following records:

Training plan submitted to the Department of Defense's Connecticut state coordinator for Watertown PD's "MINE RESISTANT VEHICLE" (NSN: 2355-01-590-1660) - as described in the below statement from Michelle McCaskill, spokesperson for the Defense Logistics Agency:

"It has always been the responsibility of each state’s designated coordinator to ensure that each and every Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) is trained on the equipment they received from the 1033 program. LEAs are required to certify to DoD through the state coordinator they have a training plan for an asset that requires specialized training, to include armored vehicles and aircraft, before the equipment is issued. LESO receives a copy of the plan only – the approval process is at the state coordinator level."

Please also include any documents used in the training, or internal memos and records referencing either the training plan or the training itself.

I also request that, if possible and pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 1-212(d), fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest and not made for commercial gain. The requested documents will be processed by a representative of the news media/press and made available to the public at MuckRock.com.

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 4 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Daniel Welch

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on July 13, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Robert Desena

As per Ct. Gen. Statute 1-210, our agency is precluded from disclosing such records not otherwise available to the public, as such disclosure would hinder the detection or investigation of crimes.
Furthermore, such disclosure could jeopardize prospective law enforcement action and be prejudicial to same, while hindering investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public. Most importantly, disclosing the names of personnel trained in operating such vehicle might subject them and their families to harm from both criminal and terrorist factions.

Deputy Chief R. J. Desena
Operations Commander
Office Of Media Relations
Watertown Police Department
195 French Street
Watertown, CT 06795
Tel: 860-945-5214-5218
Fax: 860-945-2642
rdesena@watertownctpd.org<mailto:rdesena@watertownctpd.org>

The Watertown Police Department is a state accredited law enforcement agency. The Watertown Police Department has 38 sworn police officers and 16 civilian personnel, serving a population of approximately 22,000 within 30 square miles.

From: Daniel Welch

Deputy Chief Desena,

Would you mind passing along the contact information I'd need to appeal this decision?

In the meantime it seems worth remarking that your response is a bit out of step with, for one, each of the eight Connecticut law enforcement agencies I've been in contact with, of which none so far have judged the disclosure of their MRAP training plan as either a hindrance to investigations or a risk to officers’ lives – not to mention the fact that both the State of Connecticut and the Department of Defense have been entirely forthcoming with their 1033 records, and the President's own recent advocacy for transparency in the 1033 program. Given all this, as well as the available option of redacting sensitive information such as officers' names, I would ask that Watertown PD reconsider this decision.

Thank you,
Daniel Welch

From: Robert Desena

Mr. Welch;

Regarding your correspondence sent to our department on August 6, 2015, the appeal process would be to the Chief of Police, John C. Gavallas, jgavallas@watertownctpd.org<mailto:jgavallas@watertownctpd.org> . The determination not to disclose the information was made by he and myself, for the articulated reasons. Thank you Dep. Chief R. J.Desena.....

From: Daniel Welch

Freedom of Information Commission
18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, Ct. 06106

August 10th, 2015

To Whom it May Concern:

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

On July 13th, 2015, I requested documents concerning Watertown Police Department's MRAP Training Plan under the Freedom of Information Act. On August 3rd, 2015, I received a response in a letter signed by Deputy Chief R. J. Desena, rejecting the request.

I appeal the denial of my request on the grounds that Watertown PD's justification under Connecticut General Statute - that the disclosure of the vehicle training plan "would hinder the detection or investigation of crimes" - was misapplied. As the training plan required of Watertown by the Department of Defense is loosely defined as a simple demonstration that personnel have been trained in the use of their MRAP (which is typically deployed by police agencies in emergency/rescue scenarios, and rarely - to my knowledge - crime detection or investigation), I fail to see how basic proof that officers will be capable of operating the vehicle would compromise criminal investigations. Additionally, Watertown's concern that "disclosing the names of personnel trained in operating such vehicle[sic] might subject them and their families to harm from both criminal and terrorist factions" would seem to be resolved by simply redacting these names, as I suggested in response to their initial denial of my request. Of the nine other Connecticut police agencies I've been in contact with so far, none have denied identical requests on these grounds, with five having already either provided or agreed to provide responsive documents. In light of all this, I request that the FOIC review Watertown PD's decision and remand it back to the agency for release of the requested documents.


Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.

Sincerely,
Daniel Welch

From: Stratton, MaryAnn

Dear Mr. Welch:

We are in receipt of your complaint regarding the Watertown Police Department. Please provide a contact number where you can be reached regarding Freedom of Information Commission matters pertaining to your case.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

Section 1-21j-28 (a)-(b) Form of complaint

All complaints shall be in writing and shall include the following components:
(a) The complainant's name, address, and telephone and fax numbers, if any.

From: Watertown Police Department

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Watertown Police Department

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Watertown Police Department

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Watertown Police Department

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Hennick, Thomas A

Hello Mr. Welch,
I am writing to follow up on your FOI complaint against the Watertown Police Department, which is scheduled for a hearing here on November 10. I have had several conversations with Deputy Chief Desena and suggested that he contact you and/or send you any documents you requested that were not exempt from disclosure. Last week, he assured me that he had sent a packet of documents to you. If that has happened and it resolves this matter, I would ask that you formally withdraw your complaint (a simple reply to this e-mail will suffice) so that we can remove the hearing from next week's calendar. Of course, if your request has not been honored, then the hearing will go forward. The choice is entirely yours. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Tom Hennick
Public Education Officer
(860 566-5682)

From: Watertown Police Department

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Fasciano, Linda

Good Morning,

A copy of the Hearing Officer's Report and a notice of the Commission Meeting is attached. The original was mailed out to you on December 18, 2015. Have a great day.

Linda

From: Watertown Police Department

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Fasciano, Linda

Good Morning,

I am not clear what you are following up on. At the Commission’s Meeting the Hearing Officer’s report was approved by the Commission.

Linda

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