Click for home page Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
John Cornyn

July 28, 2000

Mr. Steven D. Monté
Assistant City Attorney
City of Dallas
2014 Main Street, Room 206
Dallas, Texas 75201


Dear Mr. Monté:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 137671.

The Dallas Police Department (the "department") received a request for twelve items of information. You state that information contained in item 12 of the request, specifically pages 1-4 of the Sexual Assault section and pages 2-5 of the Shootings section of the police incidents procedures, are excepted from public disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. As you only address these specific pages of item 12 of the request, we assume that the department has released the remaining responsive information to the requestor. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.108 provides in pertinent part as follows:

(b) An internal record or notation of a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that is maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement or prosecution is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1) release of the internal record or notation would interfere with law enforcement or prosecution[.]

Gov't Code 552.108(b)(1). Generally, a governmental body claiming an exception under section 552.108 must reasonably explain, if the information does not supply the explanation on its face, how and why the release of the requested information would interfere with law enforcement. See Gov't Code 552.108(a)(1), (b)(1), .301(b)(1); see also Ex parte Pruitt, 551 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. 1977). This office has held that section 552.108 excepts portions of use of force procedures that state detailed guidelines on the use of force. Open Records Decision No. 531 (1989). However, portions of the procedures that relate to generally known common law rules, constitutional limitations, or Penal Code provisions are deemed public information. Id.

You explain that release of pages 1-4 of the Sexual Assault section and pages 2-5 of the Shootings section would severely hinder the ability of the officers to thoroughly investigate such crime because vital information respecting the procedures would be public. You contend that release of the information would interfere and complicate the procedures the department intends to use. You further assert that the release of the information would put the lives of the department's personnel at risk if the public knew the internal guidelines that were used in such operations. You also state that the information's release would severely hamper criminal detection and investigation in critical areas. After reviewing your arguments and the submitted documents, we conclude that release of the information would interfere with law enforcement. Therefore, the department may withhold pages 1-4 of the Sexual Assault section and pages 2-5 of the Shootings section pursuant to section 552.108(b)(1).

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408,411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.


Noelle C. Letteri
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division


Ref: ID# 137671

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Russell Wilson, II
1825 Market Center Boulevard, Suite 310
Dallas, Texas 75207
(w/o enclosures)


POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

Home | ORLs