DV Response Times (Worcester Police Department)

Caitlin Russell filed this request with the Worcester Police Department of Worcester, MA.


From: Caitlin Russell

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:

-Any documents or logs detailing the response time to domestic violence calls

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. 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.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

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 10 business days, as the statute requires.


Caitlin Russell

From: Hanlon, Michael J.


The Worcester Police Department received your records request regarding Domestic Violence response times. After speaking with our Crime Analysis Unit, I have determined that the Worcester Police Department is not in the possession of the requested information in any readily accessible format. For the following reasons, we will not be providing you with the requested information under the Public Records Law.

(1) The Worcester Police Department is not in the custody of the information you are requesting in a readily accessible format. The Worcester Police Department responds to a high volume of Domestic Violence calls. Our Crime Analysis Unit does not track response times for any specific type of call, and the Worcester Police Department does not have an existing program or database that specifically tracks response times.

Under M.G.L c. 4, § 7(26), public records are defined as "materials which have already been made or received" by a public entity". According to "A Guide to Massachusetts Public Records Law" published by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin in 2006, "The mandatory disclosure provision of the Public Records Law only applies to information that is in the custody of the governmental entity at the time the request is received. Consequently, there is no obligation to create a record for a requester." A custodian "is not obligated to create a record in response to a request for information". 32 Op. Att'y Gen. 157,165, May 18, 1977.

(2) The Worcester Police Department would be required to create a program that could search for the requested items and incidents in order to effectively search for and organize the data you are asking for. In a February 22, 1996 letter from Mary Schwind, Acting Supervisor of Public Records to Daniel Funk, City Solicitor of the city of Newton, Schwind wrote that "where complying with a request would require programing...the City is not obligated under the Public Records Law to perform such programming". In order to effectively search for and organize the response times for all domestic violence incidents, the Worcester Police Department would be "creating" a record in order to respond to your request, which we are not required to do under Massachusetts Public Records Law. At this time, the Worcester Police Department does have a specific code that tracks response times in our database. As a result, it would not be possible to provide you with the requested information.


Lieutenant Michael Hanlon


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