FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Carson City sheriff's office

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q. The relationship between law enforcement and the community has become an issue of heightened national interest and while there are no overt indications of difficulties here in Carson City, NV, I want to know how our Sheriff's Office monitors deputies in regard to continuing psychological fitness for their jobs.  I would like to think there are specific policies and procedures in place, but email requests to Sheriff Furlong, with cc's to Mayor Crowell and the editor of the Nevada Appeal have been ignored. The Mayor has replied and encourages patience, but it has been weeks and I'm not optimistic information is forthcoming.  As far as you are aware, is such information covered by our state's FOIA laws, as described in NRS?

A.  The records of Carson City's sherrif's office are subject to the Nevada's Public Records Act as a general matter. See Nev. R. Stat. § 293.005(5) (defining "governmental entity").  All "public books and public records" of a governmental entity are open to the public unless otherwise provided by law.  See Nev. R. Stat. § 293.010.  A non-exhaustive list of categorically exempt records can be found here.  If a requested record is not categorically exempt (and the records you seek do not appear to be), a government entity may apply a balancing of interests test to determine whether to release or withhold it.  See Donrey v. Bradshaw, 798 P.2d 144 (Nev. 1990) (stating that district court should have considered whether public policy considerations outweighed privacy and/or security interests).  I cannot accurately predict whether the sherrif's office actually maintains the records you seek or, if it does, how the records will be processed.  

As you may know, the sheriff's office was required to respond to your written request within five business days. See Schmidt v. Washoe Cnty, 281 P. 3d 1216 (Nev. 2009).  Therefore, if you are dissatisfied with the sheriff's office delay, you may pursue an action in court.  See Nev. R. Stat. § 293.011