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November 1, 2000

Mr. Duncan R. Fox
Deputy General Counsel
Texas Department of Public Safety
Box 4087
Austin, Texas 78773-0001

OR2000-4246

Dear Mr. Fox:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 141460.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (the "department") received a written request for 1) training manuals used by the department's Safety Academy regarding traffic and drug interdiction stops and 2) all class outlines for drug interdictions.(1) You state that some of the requested information has been released to the requestor. You contend, however, that certain portions of the requested training manuals and class outlines are excepted from disclosure pursuant to section 552.108(b)(1) of the Government Code.

Section 552.108(b)(1) provides an exception for an internal record of a law enforcement agency that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution if "release of the internal record or notation would interfere with law enforcement or prosecution." We have reviewed the documents at issue and your arguments for withholding the information and conclude that you have established that the release of that information would interfere with law enforcement. The department therefore may withhold the information that you have marked pursuant to section 552.108(b)(1) of the Government Code.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).

Please remember that under the Act the release of information triggers certain procedures for costs and charges to the requestor. If records are released in compliance with this ruling, be sure that all charges for the information are at or below the legal amounts. Questions or complaints about over-charging must be directed to the General Services Commission at 512/475-2497.

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Bialek
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JHB/RWP/seg

Ref: ID# 141460

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Christopher A. Haddad
2620 N. Australian Avenue, Suite 100E
West Palm Beach, Florida 33407-5606
(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

1. The requestor also seeks the department's "accreditation manual." Because you do not argue that this document is excepted from public disclosure, we assume the department has made this manual available to the requestor. If it has not, it must do so at this time. See Gov't Code 552.301, .302.
 

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