Q&A: Copies of state police reports

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From a citizen:

Q: I wondered if you knew why the Indiana State Police would tell me I could not get copies of a report mailed to me about a May 1981 murder-suicide investigation that occurred on the interstate in Indiana.

The officer did say I could come down and review the files in person; however that is not an option for me. 

A: Indiana law does not require a public agency to mail you copies of public records. You have a right to inspect and copy records (either on their machine or your own), but the police can require you to come to their office to inspect and copy.

There’s nothing stopping them from making the copies and mailing them to you, but it sounds like they have adopted a policy not to do so.

If travel is an issue, you might think about having someone visit the ISP office for you to inspect and copy the records. You might interest a reporter at a newspaper who normally covers the ISP anyway to look into the records.

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

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