|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 27, 2000
Mr. Steven M. Kean
Dear Mr. Kean:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 133587.
The City of Tyler Police Department (the "department") received a request for 9-1-1 emergency information pertaining to a specific incident. You contend that the originating telephone numbers and addresses on the 9-1-1 reports are excepted from disclosure pursuant to sections 552.101 and 552.352(1) of the Government Code in conjunction with sections 771.061 and 772.318 of the Health and Safety Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from disclosure information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision. This section encompasses information protected by other statutes. As you raise this exception, we assume that the emergency 9-1-1 district involved here was established in accordance with chapter 772 of the Health and Safety Code, which authorizes the development of local emergency communications districts. Section 771.061 provides that information that is contained in an address database maintained by a governmental entity or a third party used in providing computerized 9-1-1 service is confidential and is not available for public inspection. You state that Southwestern Bell Telephone Company maintains the 9-1-1 information in its database and transmits the information in read-only format to the Tyler Police Department computer aided dispatch system. Section 772.318 of the Health and Safety Code applies to emergency communication districts for counties with a population over 20,000. You have indicated that the emergency communication district here is subject to section 772.318. Section 772.318 makes confidential only the "current telephone numbers of subscribers and the addresses associated with the numbers on a call-by-call basis." See Open Records Decision No. 649 (1996). It does not make confidential any other information contained on a computer aided dispatch report that was obtained during a 9-1-1 call. See id. Therefore, we conclude that the address on the report you submitted is confidential and must be withheld. The remaining information, however, must be released.
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.
Ref: ID# 133587
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Scott Leake
1. Section 552.352 of the Government Code provides criminal penalties for the distribution of confidential information. It is not an exception to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act.
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