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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Little Rock Backs-Off Charging Anti-Corruption Bloggers for FOIA Requests

OUTGOING LRPD CHIEF KENTON TREMAR BUCKNER HAD NO RESPECT FOR THE AFOIA

Last week LRPD made a bonehead move by proclaiming that they would only provide responses made under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act ("AFOIA"), by placing the requested public record on a CD or DVD and charge $3.00  for each disc.




As usual, LRPD leadership - specifically, Kenton Tremar Buckner - failed to run this plan by city attorney Tom Carpenter.

Carpenter, who is quick to point out that he is an expert concerning the AFOIA and cites a listing in the acknowledgment of the well-know treatise concerning the AFOIA to back up his claim.






Anyone that regularly makes use of the AFOIA and all public employees should know (Ignorantia juris non excusat) that Section

25-19-105(d)(2)(B) of the AFOIA states a "citizen may request a copy of a

public record in any medium in which the record is readily available or

in any format to which it is readily convertible with the custodian's

existing software."

This provision refers to electronic records and "format" refers to "the organization, arrangement, and form of electronic information for use, viewing, or storage.

The AFOIA requires that "[a]ny computer hardware or software acquired by an [agency]...shall not impede public access to records in electronic form.

So of any citizen or resident makes an AFOIA request to LRPD and states that they want information sent to them in electronic form (pdf is usual form for documents and can be easily emailed at no cost to agency or requester) LRPD should not have any difficulty in doing so.

Likewise, if any citizen or resident makes an AFOIA request to LRPD and states that they want a copy of a video or audio recording, that citizen or resident is permitted to go to LRPD and make a copy of that recording using their own equipment or provide LRPD with a CD or DVD to place the requested recording onto. 

The video software that LRPD uses can export a self-executing file that can be easily copied or transferred onto a thumb or external hard drive at no cost to LRPD or the requester.


It has been a constant struggle to get LRPD to comply with our AFOIA requests and some of the excuses they and the city have given use are ridiculous and unbelievable. Click here, here, here, here  and here for some examples.

As the Arkansas Times stated, LRPD proclaimed  they would charge $3.00 for all FOI responses.

After looking into the matter city attorney Tom Carpenter stated that LRPD would only be permitted to charge 58 cents per disc, not the $3.00 per disc.

Matt Campbell, attorney and publisher of Blue Hog Report wrote about how LRPD ill-advised plan would subject them to a lawsuit and he sent a FOI request for information concerning LRPD's cost of discs.



Campbell found that the actual cost per disc was actually 24 cents for a CD and .32 cents for a DVD. 


You can read all Campbell's posts about the LRPD's FOI Fiasco by clicking here, here and here.

The publisher of this blog and the publisher of Corruption Sucks blog were not charged anything for FOI requests LRPD fulfilled after they made their ill-advised proclamation about FOI response charges.



Were we not charged because they know we would contest the charge and file legal action if necessary? You bet your ass that is the reason.

Will they charge others. You bet your ass they will.

If anyone makes a FOI request to LRPD and is charged, get in contact with you and let us know.


We are in the process of publishing a simple guide entitled How to Make Successful  Freedom of Information Act Requests in Arkansas and Not Spend Any Funds  and will make it available for downloading once it is all put together.

Until then, this is the template we use for all out AFOIA requests. Feel free to use it.




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