Communications Campaign: Orange County Law Enforcement Communications Handbook

Not very relevant to the article, but who doesn't enjoy some original stock photography? Copyright 2014 by Madison & Associates.

Not very relevant to the article, but who doesn't enjoy some original stock photography? Copyright 2014 by Madison & Associates.

Madison & Associates supports, and encourages, the lawful exercise First Amendment rights in various mediums. One such medium, although invisible to the naked eye, provides for unparalleled accountability and transparency: radio frequency scanners ("scanners"). Whether being utilized for news gathering, insight into government operations, or idle curiosity, scanners provide an invaluable manner in which oversee government operations while staying out of the way. Scanners, however advanced, cannot substitute the knowledge of the individual monitoring it. For this reason, individuals rely on supplemental materials to assist in understanding communications being conducted on any given radio frequency.  This supplemental information may include the official radio code, fleet maps (a directory of which channels are allocated for a given use, e.g. police dispatch), agency mnemonics, operating procedures, unit identifiers, acronyms, and other useful information.

Realizing that much of this information is subject to most public records acts and already public in scattered segments, Madison & Associates has begun a campaign seeking to acquire and distribute such information to the public in a consolidated manner. Through this campaign, Madison & Associates anticipates acquiring and distributing official communications handbooks, policies and other useful information in a central location on this website.

To begin this campaign, Madison & Associates lodged a pilot request to the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department on November 9, 2014 seeking a copy of their Official Law Enforcement Communications Handbook. On November 19, 2014 the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department deferred the request based on a "need for consultation with other division representatives having a substantial interest in the determination of the request." Later on December 9, 2014, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department released the 24 of 68 pages of the requested records (several of which were entirely redacted) indicating that they redacted "pages 10-27 and 32-35 because it is confidential information used for law enforcement purposed." This based on a belief "that publicly disclosing this information would compromise public safety and therefore, the public interest in nondisclosure outweighs the public interest in disclosure." In support of this finding, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner cited the catch-all provision of the California Public Records Act, Cal. Gov. Code § 6255. In response to this disclosure, Madison & Associated filed a request for reconsideration on December 11, 2014, noting that much of the information redacted was already public and/or could not possibly "compromise public safety" as law enforcement communications in the Orange County, California (with few exceptions) is encrypted. A receipt of this request was received from the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department on December 18, 2014. In this response, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department acknowledged that Madison & Associates' request for reconsideration "is being reviewed." (Source Documents)

Please stay tuned the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department's final determination and other public records act requests. If you have any feedback including comments, complaints, or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us!