The Access to Public Records Act ("APRA") governs the process to obtain access to public records from the City. To request public records, you must fill out a Public Records Request form and submit the form to the Legal Department or the Department having possession of the records. Requests can be made in person or may be submitted by e-mail, regular mail, or fax. Oral requests for records must be converted to the City's written form. If you have prepared a written request on your own, it can be attached to the City's form, but you will still need to complete the top portion of the City's form.
A request for records must identify with reasonable particularity the record being requested. It should be noted that not every request for records can be granted. The stated policy of the APRA and its broad definition of public records make most records accessible to the public; however, the APRA specifically excludes certain types of records from disclosure. It is also important to understand that in order for a public record request to be granted, the information requested must actually exist. The APRA does not cover future records, nor is it a means to obtain answers to questions. The City is not obligated to create a public record to answer your inquiry.
Steps to request public records:
- Fill out an Access to Public Records Request (APRA) form:
- General Records Request form
- Neighborhood Services and Enforcement Records Request form
- Building Department Records Request form
- Animal Resource Center Records Request form
- Historic Preservation Commission Records Request form
- Police Department Records Request form
- Water Works Records Request form
- Fire Department Records Request form
- Submit the form to the City Office or Department having possession of the records:
- After your request has been submitted:
- The Department will forward responsive records to the Legal Department and a decision will be made as to whether the records are disclosable.
- Not all requests can be granted, as some records are not disclosable under Indiana law.
- Fees for production of records (if applicable) are due with the records are picked up. View fees.
FAQ – Public Records Request
When do I need to submit a request?
A request should be made any time you wish to inspect or purchase a record from the City.
How do I submit a request?
All requests must be made on the City’s Public Records Request form, which is available above. The form may be submitted by regular mail, email to email@example.com, facsimile, or in person delivery.
How long will it take to process my request?
If you submitted your request in person, you will receive an acknowledgment from the City within twenty-four (24) hours of the City receiving your request. If you submitted your request by regular mail, e-mail, or fax, you will receive an acknowledgment from the City within seven (7) days of the City receiving your request.
Indiana law requires only an acknowledgement and not the actual production of records within this specified time period. The City is allowed a “reasonable” amount of time to actually produce all disclosable records to you. All requests will be given our immediate attention; however, the length of time it will take to produce records is dependent upon the nature, volume, and scope of your request.
Who determines what records are disclosed?
A member of the City’s legal department will review your request and make a determination, based on applicable law, as to whether the records may be disclosed to you.
How will I know if my request has been denied?
If your request is denied, you will receive a written response with an explanation as to why the record is not disclosable to you.
Is there a cost for public records and when must it be paid?
Any fees due must be paid when you pick up the record.
227 W Jefferson Blvd, Suite 1200S South Bend, IN 46601