Valley Communications is considered a local government agency and is therefore subject to the Public Records Act.
Public Disclosure Requests
Dispatch center communications are subject to judicial process and may be considered admissible evidence. All phone, radio and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) entries are recorded. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires that Valley Communications keep recordings for a period of 90 days.
The disclosure of Valley Communications records are governed by appropriate state and local regulations. Public records subject to disclosure may have identifiable details deleted to the extent necessary to prevent an unreasonable invasion of privacy. Any deletions made shall be explained in writing.
Making a Request for Public Records
Any person wishing to request copies of public records of Valley Communications should make the request via the Valley Communications Public Records Center.
If you need to make a request via letter, fax, or e-mail, please visit the Valley Communications Center Public Records Center and download the PDF form. Please send the addressed form to the public records officer and include the following information:
- Name of requestor
- Address of the requestor
- Other contact information, including telephone number and any e-mail address
- Identification of the public records adequate for the public records officer or designee to locate the records
- The date and time of day of the request
Written requests should be mailed to:Valley Communications Center
ATTN: Public Records Department
27519 108th Avenue SE
Kent, WA 98030
Phone number: 253-372-1592
Fax number: 253-372-1305
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The public records officer will oversee compliance with the act but another Valley Communications staff member may process the request. Therefore, these rules will refer to the public records officer "or designee."
- CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) Printout: Summary of the 911 call
- Radio Traffic: Audio between officers, fire department personnel, EMT's and VCC
- MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) Messages: Instant messages between officers, fire department personnel, EMT's and VCC. If the messages are pertinent to a specific incident they will be in the CAD printout.
Copying Costs of Agency Public Records
Valley Communications Center will charge the statutory default fees pursuant to RCW 42.56:
Processing of Public Records Requests
Our finance department requires payment prior to the release of any records or recordings. Your request will be processed once payment has been received and will immediately be forwarded to you upon completion.
Valley Communications will respond to requests within five (5) business days of receiving the request. In addition, reasonable time may be required for inspection and/or copying of public records. Valley Communications will respond by:
- Providing the record; OR
- Acknowledging the receipt of the request and providing reasonable estimate of time required to respond to the request; OR
- Denying the request and provide a written statement of specific reasons.
If you feel that information has been withheld or deleted in error, you may file a written appeal with the Valley Communications Center Administrative Services Manager within five (5) business days from the date of denial. The appeal must include your name and address and a copy of the denial letter together with a brief statement identifying the basis of the appeal. Please mail or deliver your appeal to the attention of the Administrative Services Manager at the address listed above.
Protecting Rights of Others
In the event that the requested records contain information that may affect rights of others and may be exempt from disclosure, the public records officer may, prior to providing the records, give notice to such others whose rights may be affected by the disclosure.
Records Exempt From Disclosure
Some records are exempt from disclosure, in whole or in part. If Valley Communications believes that a record is exempt from disclosure and should be withheld, the public records officer will do the following:
- State the specific exemption and provide a brief explanation of why the record or a portion of the record is being withheld.
- If only a portion of a record is exempt from disclosure, but the remainder is not exempt, the public records officer will redact the exempt portions, provide the nonexempt portions, and indicate to the requestor why portions of the record are being redacted.
The Public Records Act provides that a number of types of documents are exempt from public inspection and copying. In addition, documents are exempt from disclosure if any "other statute" exempts or prohibits disclosure. Requestors should be aware of the following exemptions that restrict the availability of some documents held by Valley Communications for inspection and copying:
- Witnesses to or victims of crime or who file complaints with investigative, law enforcement agencies if disclosure would endanger any person's life, physical safety, or property. If at the time a complaint is filed the complainant, victim, or witness indicates a desire for disclosure or nondisclosure, such desire shall govern. (RCW 42.56.240).
- Invasion of privacy if disclosure of information about the person would be highly offensive and is not of legitimate concern to the public (RCW 42.56.050).
- HIV/AIDS medical status (RCW 70.24.105).
- Sexual assault victims under 18 years of age (RCW 42.56.240).
- Disclosure of sensitive information contained in Valley Communications employee personnel files (RCW 42.56.250).
- Summary list of all public records exemptions not listed in RCW 42.56.
- Mental health services, confidentiality of records - Permitted disclosures (RCW 70.02.230).