Public Records Requests
The City of Long Beach (City) is committed to transparent and open government practices. The City responds to requests for public records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA), California Government Code sections 7920.000 et seq.
General PRA Requests
PRA requests for the City should be submitted at www.LongBeach.gov/PRA. See below for PRA requests specifically for Police Department records.
Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) PRA Requests
PRA requests specifically for the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), including calls for service, 911 audio, video, and California SB 1421 / AB 748-related requests should be submitted at www.LongBeach.gov/PRA-LBPD.
INFORMATION ABOUT PRA REQUESTS
The City is subject to California laws relating to public records. All information contained in a PRA request, including a requester's information, is considered public record and may be subject to public inspection pursuant to California Government Code Section 7920.530.
All forms of communication, including emails, phone records, and written records, sent or received by City employees or elected City officials are subject to these laws. Unless otherwise exempted from the provisions of the PRA, senders and receivers of City correspondence, including PRA requests, should presume that their information is a public record subject to release upon request.
PRA requests can be made anonymously. However, requesters are strongly encouraged to provide at least some contact information so that City staff may communicate important information or ask questions to gain clarification about the request. By submitting anonymously, requesters will not receive updates directly from the City on their PRA request.
If a requester does not provide contact information, it is the requester’s responsibility to document and maintain the Reference Number issued when the PRA request is submitted and to periodically check the Public Records Center for updates, requests for additional information, or any available records that may have been provided by City staff.
California SB 1421 and AB 748 Requests
PRA requests for records that fall under California SB 1421 and AB 748 laws should be submitted directly to the LBPD at www.LongBeach.gov/PRA-LBPD.
Effective January 1, 2019, California SB 1421 amended sections of the California Penal Code which generally made all peace officer personnel records and information confidential and exempt from disclosure except by motion in a criminal, civil, or administrative action.
California SB 1421 created exceptions that allow the public to obtain peace officer and custodial officer records relating to the report, investigation, or findings of:
- An incident regarding an officer-involved shooting at a person;
- An incident involving the use of force by an officer resulting in death or great bodily injury;
- An incident involving a sustained finding of sexual assault by an officer involving a member of the public; and
- An incident involving a sustained finding of dishonesty by an officer directly related to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime or an investigation of misconduct by another officer.
Effective July 1, 2019, California AB 748 amended California Government Code Section 7923.625 related to the release of video or audio recordings, which requires agencies to produce video and audio recordings of incidents involving a discharge of a firearm and any use of force by an officer or custodial officer against a person resulting in death or great bodily injury.
California SB 272 - Enterprise Systems List
In compliance with California Government Code Sections 7922.700 – 7922.725, passed via California SB 272, the City must publish a catalog of enterprise systems that collect data about the public. There are certain exceptions to this detailed in the California Government Code. An enterprise system shall not include any of the following:
- Information technology security systems, including firewalls and other cybersecurity systems;
- Physical access control systems, employee identification management systems, video monitoring, and other physical control systems;
- Infrastructure and mechanical control systems, including those that control or manage street lights, electrical, natural gas, or water and sewer functions;
- Systems related to 911 dispatch and operation or emergency services;
- Systems that would be restricted from disclosure pursuant to Section 7929.210; or
- The specific records that the information technology system collects, stores, exchanges, or analyzes.
View the Enterprise Application Inventory
City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith)
On March 2, 2017, a unanimous California Supreme Court ruled that written communications that primarily involve government business made by public officials on private accounts or privately-owned devices are public records under the PRA. The ruling applies to all elected officials and employees of a public agency such as the City.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The City is subject to California laws relating to public records. Information contained in a PRA request, including the requester's information, is considered a public record and may be subject to public inspection pursuant to California Government Code Section 7920.530. All forms of communication, including emails, phone records, and written records, sent or received by City employees or elected City officials are subject to these laws.
The PRA is a state law found in California Government Code Section 7920.000 et seq. concerning the disclosure of public records. The PRA is based upon the principle that access to information concerning the public's business is a fundamental and necessary right. Under the PRA, records maintained by the City are subject to inspection by the public upon request unless specifically exempted from disclosure under the law.
A public record may be any document or record, written or electronic, that is used, retained, or maintained by the City during the usual course of business. Upon request, the City must disclose public records unless a specific exemption from disclosure applies.
Per California Government Code Section 7922.535(a), the City will respond within 10 calendar days from receipt of a public records request as to whether disclosable public records exist. In some cases, a 14-day extension to respond may be necessary. If the City determines non-exempt, disclosable public records exist, they will be made available within a reasonable timeframe and following the required payment, if applicable, for copies of such records.
Response times vary from case to case. The length of time it takes to process a request depends on the types and volume of documents being requested, the scope of the request, and our current workload. Depending on the type and volume of records requested, documents may be made available in as little as 48 hours or as long as several months.
The City will make every effort to provide responsive records in a reasonable time. Pursuant to state law, you will be notified within 10 calendar days from the date of receipt of your request:
- Whether the City has records responsive to your request and the page count and required payment, if applicable, to produce copies of such records, and/or
- Whether the City has records responsive to your request, but which are exempt from disclosure and the reasons for exemption, and/or
- Whether the City requires an extension of time to determine whether it has records responsive to your request.
The PRA states that records must be provided "promptly" within a reasonable expectation of time with consideration of the circumstances of the request (Ca. Gov. Code Section 7922.530(a)). The "10-day" and "14-day extension" language in the PRA is commonly misperceived as the time frame within which records must be produced. However, that is not the case. The PRA specifically states the agency must respond within 10 calendar days (or 24 calendar days if extended by 14 days) to notify the requester of whether records exist and will be disclosed (Ca. Gov. Code Section 7922.535).
While the PRA provides members of the public with access to public records, it is not unlimited in its scope. California courts have acknowledged that members of the public may request documents from municipalities pursuant to the PRA even if they are unable to precisely identify the documents sought, but the request must still reasonably describe the information contained in the records sought such that the municipality can locate the records with “reasonable effort” [Cal. First Amend. Coalition v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal. App. 4th 159].
The request must be focused and specific [Rogers v. Superior Court (1993) 19 Cal. App. 4th 469] and also clear enough so that the agency can decipher what records are being sought. Moreover, the City is not required by law to create a record or list using data drawn from existing records.