Public Access to State Police Records

Introduction

The Division of State Police, a state-wide law enforcement agency mandated by law (Section 223, Executive Law) to prevent and detect crime and to apprehend criminals, adheres to the principle of the right to privacy for law-abiding people. The Division must balance the right of citizens to know how their government works with their right to personal privacy. Great care is taken to ensure that records provided are exactly what was requested and are legally releasable.

Please be advised that this agency maintains only those records associated with New York State Police arrests and investigations; it does not maintain records for any other police agencies, nor does it maintain Criminal Histories or court dispositions. Refer to the FAQ section for details.

Requests for a copy of - or to inspect - New York State Police records must be made in writing. Requests should describe the records sought with sufficient specificity to enable the Division to identify and locate the appropriate records.

There are two laws governing public access to records:

  1. New York State Public Officers Law Article 4 § 66-a governs access to certain police investigative reports and records for interested/involved parties.
    • A copy of the MV-104A Police Accident Report is requested through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); the DMV website is www.nysdmv.com.
    • Copies of reports or records other than the MV-104A relevant to investigations by the State Police are maintained by this agency.
  2. New York State Public Officers Law Article 6 § 87 (also known as Freedom of Information Law or FOIL) governs access by the public to government records and is based on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act of 1966; both the state and federal statutes were originally intended for the public exposure to how government works. To ensure privacy, the Freedom of Information Law in New York State exempts from disclosure some information that if released could cause harm to individuals or entities. For more information about the FOI Law visit the Committee on Open Government website hosted by the New York State Department of State: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/.

FAQs
FOIL Subject Matter List
FOIL Request Form
Tips for Requesting Records