Using Your Own Scanner During “Inspection” of Public Records is Allowed by City of Los Angeles, Other Details About LAPD Public Records

The Triforium seen from Fletcher Bowron Square looking southwest from the door of the LAPD Discovery Office this morning.
The Triforium seen from Fletcher Bowron Square looking southwest from the door of the LAPD Discovery Office this morning.
This morning I went to the LAPD Discovery Section at 201 N. Los Angeles Street to inspect the latest batch of emails produced in response to a public records act request I made in January 2015. None of the emails themselves were especially interesting,1 but the procedure itself was interesting. A couple of weeks ago, the incomparably helpful CD13 staffie Dan Halden, after checking with the City Attorney, told me that it was indeed allowed to bring one’s own scanner to a document inspection session. This works out to about 1,000 pages (at 10¢ per page) for a cheap portable scanner, although one with a decent page rate (16 ppm) runs about $200. It seemed worth it, so I brought mine to the LAPD and everything went swimmingly! This is crucial because the City insists2 on printing out emails for inspection and it’s easy to get 2,000 or more pages from a simple request, most of which is junk but it’s hard to tell in advance. Also, I mentioned to Debra Green, who’s handling one of my requests to the LAPD, that no one had answered my other pending ones. She invited me to forward them to her and she’d check into them for me. I did so, and so did she. According to Ms. Green, one of them at least had been assigned to an analyst and was being handled, even though I’d received no response. This may lend some plausibility to the City’s claim in their response to the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition’s Public Records Act lawsuit that, even though they didn’t respond to the requests in question, they nevertheless did look for the records.3 In any case, I’ll update the Practical Guide to CPRA Requests in LA to reflect the possibility of using a scanner. Happy trails, compadres!


Image of Triforium is ©2016 MichaelKohlhaas.org.

  1. I’ll be publishing them pretty soon, as soon as they’re prepped. Also, some of them were quite interesting in a complicated kind of way that I don’t fully understand yet. I discovered the existence of what seems to be yet another advisory committee run by CD13 rep Mitch O’Farrell, this one called Hollywood Impact something-or-another, and I got the minutes of an entire Hollywood Street Closure Advisory Group meeting. This last weighs in for O’Farrell on, wait for it, street closures in Hollywood. You’ll be hearing more about this after CD13 comes through with some documents.
  2. Illegally.
  3. It’s my deduction from their response that they’re claiming this. They don’t seem to say so explicitly.
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