Q&A: Cost of police reports


From the Palladium-Item (Richmond):

Q: We were told we could have a sheriff’s office accident report for $8 for a hard copy or $12 through the Internet. The police department also says $8.

I thought public records were 10 cents a copy. Did that change? Do the charges apply to media and the public? 

A: Accident reports are one of the exceptions to the standard copy fee provision in the Access to Public Records Act.

The statute authorizes the collection of a minimum fee of $5 (IC 9-29-11-1), and police departments can charge more. The most expensive that I’ve heard about was $20 charged by the Hammond police department.

There is no media exception in the statute, but most police departments waive the charge for reporters.

While the sheriff’s department is within the law to charge you, remember you have the right to inspect the record at no charge and are free to take notes during that inspection.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.