Did You Know? The key to getting public records is to refer to the Freedom of Information Act
Just about all government meetings documents are public record. But in my experience, unless someone uses the actual words, “Freedom of Information Act” (“FOIA”) in a written request for records, many government officials may ignore requests for public records. The FOIA laws are found at Arkansas Code Annotated 25-19-101 et seq. The Act promotes transparency in our government. The idea behind it is that by requiring all documents and meetings to be public record, government officials are better held accountable for their actions.
The law requires anyone working for the government, including law enforcement, everyone in the justice system, state agencies, county and city government offices, and sometimes even private entities doing work for the public, to disclose most of their records upon written request. For example, here are some of the things you can get: (1) police reports and witness statements (if the investigation is no longer active); (2) 911 call recordings from dispatch; (3) a copy of the minutes from a city council meetings; (4) personnel files of government employees; and (5) work-related emails of government employees. With the right wording you can even find everyone’s salary along with their resumes, and training.
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