Fee set for public records request in Pullman

Physical copies of records will cost 15 cents per page, digital will cost 10 cents



Josh Sanders, records specialist for the Pullman Police Department, discusses the benefits of the records fee Tuesday at the Pullman Police Department.

DAISY ZAVALA, Evergreen managing editor

The City of Pullman implemented a state-standard fee for public record requests that went into effect at the beginning of the year.

“I am in the process of working with our public records software people,” City Clerk Dee Stiles-Elliott said. “We are developing an invoicing and payment module.”

There will be a meeting for the invoicing process, so people can receive their invoices and submit their payment electronically, Stiles-Elliott said.

She said they will also talk about safety precautions for electronic invoices, as well as meet with the bank and a third-party vendor for credit card payments. Information technology specialists will also be involved in the process, Stiles-Elliott said.

“[An] attorney has asked that we don’t start collecting fees until we have that method in place to track the payment,” Sanders said.

Pullman PD Records Specialist Josh Sanders said there will be a charge for each request made. A physical copy costs 15 cents per page and a digital version costs 10 cents per page.

“These fees were established to try to assist agencies and [to recoup] some costs for the time and manpower that it’s taking people to fulfill these requests,” Sanders said.

Stiles-Elliott said they were not able to charge for digital copies in the past.

Sanders said the majority of requests the Pullman Police Department receives are for accident reports. A number of students also request accident reports to send to their insurance company, he said.

The police department also receives requests from the Office of Student Conduct, he said.

“I’m sending information on arrests or incidents where [students have] been involved,” Sanders said.

He said there are seven record specialists within the police department who work to fulfill public record requests.

The fees will make sure that people who are asking for records are serious about it and are not just looking to overwhelm the department, he said.

Sanders said there have been requests in the past from inmates or from people who have too much time on their hands.

“I don’t feel like it’s going to keep people from requesting,” he said. “If anything, it’ll allow them to focus on what they’re actually after.”

Stiles-Elliott said the fee was implemented because it became a state standard.

“It isn’t something that we just came up with and did,” Sanders said. “We’re just adopting what’s already there and what most other agencies are already doing.”

Stiles-Elliott said the City of Pullman spent 1,330 hours on public record requests in 2018.


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