Hamden Police Tried to Destroy Requested Documents: Mayor

NBC Connecticut

Hamden police officers tried to destroy documents requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, according to Mayor Lauren Garrett.

Town officials said the documents included citizen complaints.

"Though we still have most of the requested documents, the timing of this request gives an appearance of impropriety," Garrett said in a statement.

The documents were requested by a member of the police commission through FOIA, which allows the public to request records from federal agencies.

The mayor said she ordered an immediate stop to any further destruction of records in town as she reviews policies and procedures.

Garrett said she wants to ensure that requests for destroying documents are "communicated openly between town and state officials."

"The situation frustrates me because I take our obligation to be transparent to the public seriously. Before the destruction of records can lawfully occur, the town must obtain permission from the State of Connecticut," Garrett stated.

According to the mayor, the application process for such permissions involves the chief of police, the mayor and the Connecticut State Library.

"These permissions are not intended to override state regulations concerning record-keeping, record retention and FOIA requests, but only to certify when certain records can be disposed of consistent with those regulations," she explained.

Garrett said the town plans to keep in touch with the Connecticut State Library and the Freedom of Information Commission for guidance and to make sure the town is in full compliance with these laws.

"My office is committed to preventing any recurrence in the future," Garrett said.

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