|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
February 3, 1999
Ms. Sharon R. Sela
Dear Ms. Sela:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 121803.
The Dallas Police Department received a request for "all 911 police service calls made from January 1996 to May 31, 1998 for 8849 Fair Oaks Crossing, #2037, in Dallas, Texas." You contend that portions of the requested 911 call reports are excepted from disclosure pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with various confidentiality statutes.
Pursuant to section 552.301(b), a governmental body is required to submit to this office (1) general written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld, (2) a copy of the written request for information, and (3) a copy of the specific information requested or representative samples, labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents. You did not, however, submit to this office a copy of the written request for information or copies or representative samples of the specific information that was requested.
Pursuant to section 552.303(c) of the Government Code, this office notified you by facsimile on December 8, 1998 that you had failed to submit the information required by section 552.301(b). We requested that you provide this information to our office within seven days from the date of receiving the notice. The notice further stated that under section 552.303(e), failure to comply would result in the legal presumption that the information at issue is public information.
You did not provide our office with the information that was requested. Therefore, as provided by section 552.303(e), the 911 call reports presumed to be public information. This presumption of openness can only be overcome by a compelling demonstration that the information should not be made public. See, e.g., Open Records Decision No. 150 (1977) (presumption of openness overcome by showing that information is made confidential by another source of law or affects third party interests). We note that the applicability of the confidentiality statutes you have cited would constitute a compelling reason for nondisclosure of portions of the 911 call reports. However, because we have not reviewed the documents at issue, we are unable to determine whether these statutes are applicable to the documents. See Gov't Code § 552.352 (distribution of confidential information is criminal offense).
We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Yours very truly,
Karen E. Hattaway
Ref: ID# 121803
cc: Ms. Margaret Udo
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US