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A man named Joel Chandler is visiting Florida police agencies for the purposes of testing their compliance with public records law.  He has filed suit against more than 100 agencies for violations.

Mr. Chandler usually will enter a police station and request to see and photograph the visitor log.  A standard log listing citizens names visiting the police station is public record and is allowed to be released and photographed.  As it pertains to the public records request, it is a violation of law to deny such a request, demand the individuals name, request to see ID and/or require him to submit the request in writing. 

If your log contains visitors Driver's License numbers, that information should first be redacted.  Otherwise, this information should be released.

Don't get sued and be sure to inform your personnel!  As I have always stated in my records seminar, Florida is the most open records state in the land.  If your not sure about whether something is in fact public record, never say "no" to the person asking for it.  Simply explain that you need a reasonable amount of time to confirm the information can be released and either have the requester wait or explain you'll get back with them (quickly).

Please share this information with your colleagues and neighboring agencies.  I hope to get the word out ASAP.  Mr. Chandler is working all around the state and was working recently in the Miami area.

Ed Claughton




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