Saturday, January 19, 2008

North Tonawanda Police Department Refuses to Disclose Whereabouts of NTHS Crime Scene Evidence

The Standards: Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). REQUEST FOR RECORDS.

The Truths:
In correspondence dated January 15, 2008 from North Tonawanda City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson, Attorney Nickerson continues to indicate that NTPD reiterates that they have no photographs of crime scenes taken at North Tonawanda High School in October 2005.

"Dear Ms. Mangus:

Thank you for your letter of December 28, 2007, alledging [sic] that the City is somehow holding back information from your recent FOIL request. Please be advised that the City is not required to keep old information indefinitely, and you have been given all of the information that is still available. Additionally, as we stated in our last letter to you, we did ask the NTPD to re-check their files for the existence of photographs, and they reiterate that they have none.

That being said, we realize that you can come in to view the NTPD Manual for Standard Operating Procedures and Rules and Regulations, and make the copies you need. However, your original request for information did not state that you wanted to come in to review the Manual. You did state, "I am also requesting all documents that describe or reflect the procedures followed by investigating officers on this matter, .......". Therefore, we assumed you wanted a copy of the Manual. We are here during regular business hours if you wish to come in to review the Manual.

Lastly, I am returning your money order, which you alledge [sic] was illegally billed. Since you seem to be testing this office as to the NYS FOIL law, please remit what you think you owe for the documents already provided to you. Then, if you decide to come in to photocopy pages from the Manual, be prepared to pay $.25 per page for whatever you photocopy at the time you come in. I would suggest that you call ahead to make sure that there are no meetings going on so that someone is here when you come in. Lastly, I'm sure you know that the City is not required by law to mail out information requested in FOIL requests, but we have done so as a courtesy.

Very truly yours,

Shawn P. Nickerson/kl
City Attorney"

The City of North Tonawanda Police Department is clearly resisting an explanation of where the photographic evidence is. The FOIL request is not simply for "old information". Again, crime scene(s) evidence cannot be destroyed or disappear without explanation (ie the date of destruction and who authorized the destruction of evidence), and there is documented evidence that photographs of the crime scene(s) were in fact taken by NTPD Captain Detective Hall, Detective Kalota, and Detective Mahoney.

The balance of City Attorney Nickerson's correspondence is self-explanatory and will be addressed accordingly. A "FOIL" Appeal will be directed to City of North Tonawanda Honorable Mayor Soos and Common Council.

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