Government Records Indiana: Where to Obtain Government Records for the State of Indiana?
Any government record is a public record unless there is a restriction imposed by the law and is the records of the people. The public records law of the state, as well as, the federal FOIA assumes that it is the business of the people to know how a government is conducting itself. Thus, these laws believe that every artifact created and action executed belongs to the citizens. Usually, it is possible to copy or inspect government records in the state of Indiana.
Every resident has specific rights to access information about the county and city government. These rights are covered in Indiana in two major laws – the Open Door Law and the Access to Public Records Act.
According to the Access to Public Records Act, every resident has the right to copy and view government records. On the other hand, the Open Door Law mentions the rights of the citizens to get information about meetings of government.
Requesting a government record in Indiana
Check out the following steps for copying or viewing public government records in the state:
- You may request to make copies or view records online by telephone, in person, in writing, or online.
- There are some agencies that require requests to be sent in a particular format. The agency can be contacted by the requestor to know how they wish to get a request for the records.
- Visit the website of the agency as they may have provided the electronic form online and the address for sending the request.
- Make sure that you explain the record(s) you wish to copy or/and view in your request with as much clarity as possible. There is no need to give a reason or explanation for the request and the request is typically not denied because no explanation was given.
A fee may be charged by the agencies for copying a government record. The fee can vary on the basis of the information requested. However, there is no charge to view a government record.
Submitting a request for access to government records to Indiana
Again, you can either submit your request online, which is the quickest option. However, there is also a provision of sending a letter. When you are sending a letter to submitting your request, we recommend you to include the details listed below:
- Name, telephone number, and address of the requestor
- The date of the request
- Whether the person would wish to be contacted prior to making the copies
- Description of the record or records the person would like to copy or see. The requestor should describe the record as much as possible
- The contact agency’s address and name
According to the law, it is the responsibility of an agency to send an acknowledgment of records requests within a stipulated time period. The agency should respond to in-person or verbal requests within twenty-four hours. The concerned agency should respond via fax, U.S. mail, or email to written requests within a week of receiving them.
After responding, the concerned agency has to provide access to the disclosable record(s) within a stipulated period. According to the law, agencies require to give access to only existing records. In case a person requests for a non-existing record, the agency does not have the obligation to create that record for the requestor.
When the requestor does not get any response within the stipulated time, it is understood, that the request has been denied. The person can also get a direct denial from the concerned agency. An agency can either deny requests made over the telephone or in-person in writing or verbally.
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