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NYS Police continue to refuse Freeman FOIL requests

Oct 02, 2022 12:45 am

Diane Pineiro-Zucker is reporting that the New York State Police has refused a request from the Daily Freeman to provide the names of troopers assigned to Troop F, which is part of a broader effort to report on the agency’s disciplinary records. In July, state police missed a self-imposed deadline to indicate if they would comply with the Freeman’s request for records under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. The agency’s blanket refusal came in an email this week when a request for the name and rank of all state police personnel patrolling in Ulster and Greene counties was refused. State police Major William H. Gorman wrote, “Please be advised that all State Police personnel are subject to transfer or reassignment to one of our various other troops, zones, stations, or units situated through the state at any given point in time. This makes it exceedingly difficult to identify the universe of ‘all troopers assigned to Troop F, Zone 3’ for the time period you identified.” He further noted that the information requested, “is exempt from disclosure under Public Officers Law Section 87(2)(f), as the release of that information could endanger the life or safety of the identified employees.” In December 2021, the Freeman submitted a request for “a record of complaints, lawsuits and investigations and their outcomes (including written and video records of such outcomes), whether or not they resulted in disciplinary action or reprimand, from 2019 to the present” from Troop F, Zone 3, under the state Freedom of Information Law.” Troop F, Zone 3, patrols Ulster and Greene counties. Disciplinary records for police, firefighters and corrections officers in New York were theoretically made more easily accessible as a result of a change in the law in response to nationwide demands for transparency concerning such records. Similar requests were submitted to the Kingston and Saugerties police, as well as the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, all of whom have complied. Like the State Police, the town of Ulster police has not complied with the same requests. On July 1, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the State Police for its alleged refusal to comply with a similar request submitted by that organization. The NYCLU suit charged state police with unlawfully denying requests for the full slate of records related to police misconduct now authorized to be disclosed. In the NYCLU case, the State Police has requested multiple extensions to file its opening brief, which is now due at the end of November. The troopers’ union has also filed a motion to intervene, which is pending. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.