Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has given the public the right to request access to the records of any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens informed about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA, unless it is included in one of nine exemptions that protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. The FOIA does not require agencies to create new records or conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests.
Mark Longtoe, Assistant Counselor at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (40 North Pearl, 16th Floor, Albany, NY 12243) oversees the verification of incident reports. This is provided by the Criminal Records Unit, which stores and maintains reports of crimes and lost items and provides information from these files to members of the public and authorized agencies, as required by law and department regulations. If a fee is required for the records you request, you will be notified before they are delivered. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the Public Servants Act (section 87) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 25 cents per copy for copies of records up to 9 x 14 inches, or the actual cost of reproducing a record.
The Assisted Unit also provides records in cases where a person is injured (not involving a motor vehicle), becomes ill or lost, and the service is provided by the New York City Police Department. The Records Access Officer at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (40 North Pearl, 16th Floor, Albany, NY 12243) is responsible for receiving documents that initiate special actions and procedures. The New York County Clerk also maintains official court files which contain all documents filed with the court in each case. If you request records related to another person and the release of these records could invade that person's privacy, they will not normally be disclosed to you.
The department's Non-Criminal Certificates of Conduct and Fingerprints Unit, Criminal Records Unit, and Assisted Unit provide different types of records or reports upon request. For more information on FOIL (Freedom Of Information Law), visit the New York State Open Government Committee website. It is important to note that marriage records are confidential under New York State law. Usually, when responding to a request for records, an agency will search for them and then review them to determine what parts can be released and what parts cannot.
There are professionals who seek and process records in response to FOIA requests, FOIA contacts and public FOIA liaisons who work with applicants to answer questions and resolve concerns, and FOIA directors who oversee their agency's compliance with the FOIA. The Criminal Records Unit stores and maintains reports of crimes and lost items, providing this information to members of the public and authorized agencies as required by law and department regulations.