Introducing SPD’s Record Request Center

As part of the Seattle Police Department’s ongoing commitment to transparency, SPD today became the first City of Seattle agency to launch an online Records Request Center, to improve access to public data and documents.

The Records Request Center, powered by GovQA, will enhance how members of the public are able to file, track and receive records requests.rrc

SPD’s previous records request system required users to download, fill out and email forms, and provided no means of easily tracking the status of requests. The new GovQA system is mobile friendly, enables requestors to receive records as an electronic download, make payments online, and follow the status of requests as members of SPD’s Public Disclosure Unit (PDU) research, review and prepare them for release. Requestors will also be able to communicate directly with PDU members through the system.

These changes, and the adoption of the GovQA system, are intended to improve the mechanics and streamline the service provided by SPD’s PDU, which received upwards of 6,000 requests in 2015, sometimes leading to long waits for public records. On average, the Seattle Police Department handles about 70% of the records requests for the entire City of Seattle, and requests have grown steadily every year since 2011.

So will the Records Request Center speed up the time it takes to fulfill records requests?

“This is an important first step for our department” says Mary Perry, the new SPD Director of Transparency and Privacy. “We have more work to do to improve access to public information, but this should improve how the public can request, and SPD can provide, public records.”