Submitted by Lon Peterson, City of Santa Clara Communications Director
On April 19th, the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) released documentation in response to a Public Records Act (PRA) request. The California Public Records Act contains requirements for redaction by public agencies to balance the public’s right to know with residents’ rights to privacy. After a review by the City Attorney’s Office, they discovered that some of the information inadvertently included was exempt from releasing publicly and should have been redacted since the information implicated medical privacy rights, reporting party and witness information, and public employee personal information.
Similar information has been redacted, on similar grounds, in prior PRA responses by the City of Santa Clara, and is not limited to information relating to Councilmembers. Upon discovery of the inadvertent release, the SCPD reached out to the requestor and respectfully asked that the unredacted documents that were released be destroyed (see, e.g., Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (2016) 62 Cal.4th 1176, 1182–1183; Newark Unified School Dist. v. Superior Court (2015) 245 Cal.App.4th 887, 894). The requestor was advised that the City was preparing properly redacted and code-compliant documents that would be sent as soon as they were ready. A properly redacted copy of the records was provided shortly thereafter. Visit https://www.santaclaraca.gov/home/showdocument?id=72789 to download a copy of the City’s communication with the requester and the City’s final response to the PRA.
Editor’s Note: this was in response to an opinion column by Debbie Algieri on Friday.