Ask the Mayor: How Can I Get a Copy of a Police Report?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Q: I’m interested in getting information under the freedom of information act. I’m looking for any police reports about the property I’m living at, because I understand at least two people have died there, I believe, of natural causes. I also hear some other police action has happened there,so I’m a bit concerned. I called the police records department and they told me that unless my name is on the report I cannot get this information. Why is that?
A: Only persons involved and named in specific incidents may receive copies of such records, under Hawai‘i’s Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA). Even rental property owners, landlords, tenants or roommates, unless directly involved, may not have access to private reports. Some may require a court order for the release of the report, or show proof of active civil proceedings regarding said incident in order to gain access.
If police-response/contact statistics involving a specific location are desired, a request may be made through the chief of police, and a de-identified statistical report may be generated. If the request is for specific incident reports (criminal investigations) that could identify names, details of a criminal investigation, mental health or other medical or social services issues of parties involved, these reports are protected and are not releasable under UIPA.
UIPA is intended to open up governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation by requiring government business to be conducted as transparently as possible, while balancing personal privacy rights guaranteed under the Hawai‘i State Constitution. The UIPA applies to all records maintained in government offices and agencies whether they be written, auditory, visual or electronic.
Exemptions of this act are, however, records that would constitute an invasion of personal privacy if released such as records containing medical, psychiatric, or psychological information; criminal investigations; social services or welfare benefits information; personnel files; fitness to be granted a license; and personal recommendations and evaluations. These exemptions are specified in greater detail in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) §92F-13 and §92F-14.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.