Police Department's FOIA Form and FAQs
What is FOIA?
FOIA is the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, which requires all public bodies in Illinois to make non-exempt public records available for inspection and/or copying. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140/2(c), "public records" means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information, and all other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed or under the control of any public body.
The act does not require a public body to create record that does not already exist. A request does not guarantee that a public record(s), in part or in its entirety, will be released. If a request is denied, a response will be provided as to why the request was denied.
How do I file a request?
A request for information can be made by completing a FOIA request form found here or obtained from the police department. The form can be submitted to the police department by email, fax, or in person. A thorough description of the record(s) requested should be provided to ensure that the department has enough viable information to locate the record(s). Please describe in detail the document(s)/record(s) being requested, to include a case number, name or names of parties involved, dates and times of incidents, and locations of incidents, etc. The police department is not obligated to interpret the meaning or significance of the public records that are requested. Additionally, the requestor needs to provide complete, legible contact information in the event the FOIA Officer needs to contact the requester.
When can I expect a response to my request?
A response to a FOIA request will generally be provided within five business days after receiving the request; excluding holidays and the day the request was received. That deadline may be extended depending on the number of documents being requested, the nature of the documents being requested, where those documents are stored, the amount of time it takes to determine if the documents are subject for release, etc.
A response to a commercial FOIA request will generally be provided within twenty-one business days after receiving the request; excluding holidays and the day the request was received. That deadline may be extended depending on the number of documents being requested, the nature of the documents being requested, where those documents are stored, the amount of time it takes to determine if the documents are subject for release, etc.
What is a commercial request?
A FOIA request for commercial purposes is when the requester seeks to use part, or all, of the documents for sale, resale, solicitation, or advertisement for sales or services. It is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act to knowingly obtain a public record for commercial purposes without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose.
How will I receive my response?
The police department commonly satisfies FOIA requests with photocopies of the original documents or making the documents available for review. The requested documents are generally returned by email.
Will there be a cost for my request?
No fees shall be charged for the first 50 pages of black and white, letter or legal sized copies. The fee for black and white, letter or legal sized copies shall not exceed 15 cents per page. When the responsive records exceed 50 pages, and the requester cannot or will not, pay for the additional pages, the first 50 pages must be released at no cost, but the remaining pages may be withheld. The police department may charge the requester for the cost of the recording medium (disc, USB flash drive, or other media) for electronic copies. Fees for traffic accident reports are fixed by statute.
Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, the police department may charge up to $10 for each hour spent by personnel in searching for and retrieving a requested record or examining the record for necessary redactions for commercial requests. No fees shall be charged for the first eight hours spent by personnel in searching for or retrieving a requested record. A public body may charge the actual cost of retrieving and transporting public records from an off-site storage facility when the public records are maintained by a third-party storage company under contract with the public body. If a public body imposes a fee pursuant to a commercial request, it must provide the requester with an accounting of all fees, costs, and personnel hours in connection with the request for public records.