ProPublica: Hate crimes data

Ken Schwencke filed this request with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office of Whatcom County, WA.
Tracking #




From: Ken Schwencke

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

Any database or other records of hate crimes or crimes evidencing bias of race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability reported to or investigated by your agency since Jan. 1, 2010, containing at least the following fields:

the incident number
date of the incident
whether the crime was against individuals or a business / property
number of victims
race or ethnicity of the victims
gender of the victims
the offense classification
the location of the incident
the bias motivation (anti-black, anti-muslim, etc)

I would like the records in a machine-readable, electronic format if possible. If the records are kept in another format, or kept individually, I would still like copies.

This request is made as part of the Documenting Hate Project, a collaboration involving dozens of news organizations, led by ProPublica. Coverage from the project is compiled at

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 5 business days, as the statute requires.


Ken Schwencke

From: PublicRecordsOfficer

Mr. Schwencke,

On August 4, 2017 Whatcom County received your request for public records. It was assigned tracking number 2017-190 and was forwarded to the department(s) where we reasonably expected any responsive records to be found.

We estimate that it may take until September 13, 2017 to provide any records to you however we will do so sooner if possible. If you do not receive any correspondence regarding this request by that date, please contact my office.

Mark Burnfield, CPRO
Public Records Officer
Whatcom County
311 Grand Ave., Suite B-04
Bellingham, WA 98225

From: SheriffRecords

Per your recent request for records. Although this may not provide you with all the information you are requesting, this is the only information I am able to retrieve from our records management system.

Ann Bjertness
Whatcom County Sheriff's Office
311 Grand Ave.
Bellingham, WA 98225

"Dedicated to making Whatcom County the safest in the State through excellence in public safety."

From: Ken Schwencke

Hi Ann,

I really appreciate you getting back to me with those records. Is there no incident date associated or available with that report? Do the first two digits of the incident number reflect the year?

Thanks so much,
Ken Schwencke
w: 917-512-0253
c: 561-756-6135

From: SheriffRecords

Yes, the first two digits reflect the year. The date is not stored with this data.