How to Request Public Records

 

The public has a right under the California Constitution and the California Public Records Act (PRA) to access public information maintained by all state governmental agencies, including the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (Bureau).  In accordance with the PRA (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.), the following explains how to access the Bureau’s public records.

The Bureau’s Custodian of Record is responsible for facilitating responses to all public records requests.  If you direct your request to the Custodian of Record, it makes it easier for the Bureau to track and process your request more efficiently. Requests may be submitted by mail, fax or e-mail to:

Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
Custodian of Record
P.O. Box 980550
West Sacramento, CA 95798
Fax: (916) 575-7296
E-mail: BSIS.PRArequests@dca.ca.gov

Please note: Do not send subpoenas for records or personal appearance to this address, fax, or email.  You must follow the California Code of Civil Procedure and the Government Code for service of all subpoenas.  Bureau staff cannot provide advice on how to comply with such service requirements.  No response will be provided for subpoenas not received in accordance with applicable law.

Identifying Records

"Records" include any writing owned, used or maintained by the Bureau in the conduct of its official business. Writings include information recorded or stored on paper, computers or e-mail.

A request for inspection or copying of public records should be specific and focused.  Requestors should provide specific information about the records they seek including names, addresses and license numbers. Common requests include initial applications for licensure, license renewal applications, address change forms and name change correction forms. When a record cannot be identified by name, the requestor should attempt to be as specific as possible in describing the record based on its content. When a request is not specific, Bureau staff will help the requestor to identify the information by describing how the records are maintained, and provide suggestions on how to overcome any practical barriers to disclosure.

The Bureau may refuse to disclose any records that are exempt from disclosure under the PRA.  Some of the most common reasons for the Bureau refusing to disclose records are because the records requested constitute compliant or investigation records, or because disclosure would violate the right to privacy guaranteed by the California Constitution.

Inspection of Public Records

Public records maintained by the Bureau are available for inspection during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. Members of the public are not required to give notice to inspect public records at the Bureau’s office during regular business hours.  However, if the request requires the retrieval, review or redaction of records, or the review of numerous records, a mutually agreeable time may be established for inspection of the records. In order to prevent records from being lost, damaged or destroyed during an inspection, Bureau staff may determine the location of, and may monitor, the inspection of records.  Additionally, the operational functions of the Bureau will not be suspended to permit inspection of records during periods in which Bureau staff reasonably requires such records for the performance of their duties.

Processing Requests for Copies of Records

When a copy of a record is requested and the record cannot be produced immediately, the Bureau will notify the requester, within 10 days after the receipt of the request, whether or not the Bureau will be able to comply with the request and the reasons for the determination. The initial 10–day period may be extended to include an additional 14 days if more time is needed to locate and collect the records from multiple sources.

Whenever possible, the Bureau will provide records at the time the determination is made. If immediate disclosure is not possible, the Bureau will provide an estimated date when the records will be available, and will endeavor to provide the records within a reasonable period of time.

Copying Fees

The Bureau may charge for producing copies of a public record.  The direct cost to duplicate a record is ten cents ($0.10) per page.  This fee is authorized by the PRA.  The cost of staff time for retrieving, duplicating and redacting a record is computed in accordance with the guidelines contained in Section 8740 of the State Administrative Manual and is authorized by Business and Professions Code section 161.  However, the Bureau may waive a charge if the cost of the retrieval, duplication and redaction of the record is less than the cost of processing the payment.

Exemptions

The Bureau will provide access to public records upon request unless the PRA or other state or federal law exempts or prohibits the record from being disclosed.  Examples of records which the Bureau may decline to disclose include but are not limited to: preliminary drafts, records pertaining to pending litigation, personnel records, complaints, investigative reports, and legal advice.  If public records contain both disclosable and exempt information, Bureau staff may remove or redact exempt information from the records and disclose the remainder of the records. 

Identification of Requestors

Bureau staff will not require that you provide identification to inspect records, or your reasons for wanting to inspect records.  However, if copies of records are to be picked up or mailed to you, relevant identifying information (such as a mailing address) must be provided.

Ordering BSIS License Lists

In accordance with the Public Records Act, Government Code § 6250 et seq., the Information Practices Act, Civil Code § 1798.61, and Business and Professions Code § 161, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Public Information Unit can produce license files on various DCA programs, including BSIS, for a fee.

Visit the DCA webpage at http://www.dca.ca.gov/consumer/public_info/index.shtml to read more about ordering a BSIS license list.

 

10/20/2016