The Records Section of the Information and Technical Services Division operates under procedures that are in compliance with Title 51 of the Oklahoma State Statutes, Subsection 24, also known as the Oklahoma Open Records Act. This statute details which records law enforcement agencies shall make available for public inspection, if kept.
The Open Records Act states that law enforcement agencies shall make available:
1. An arrestee description, including the name, date of birth, address, race, sex, physical description, and occupation of the arrestee;
2. Facts concerning the arrest, including the cause of arrest and the name of the arresting officer;
3. Conviction information, including the name of any person convicted of a criminal offense;
4. Disposition of all warrants, including orders signed by a judge of any court commanding a law enforcement officer to arrest a particular person;
5. A chronological list of incidents, including initial offense report information showing the offense, date, time, general location, officer and a brief summary of what occurred;
6. A crime summary, including a departmental summary of crimes reported and public calls for service by classification or nature and number;
7. Radio logs, including a chronological listing of the calls dispatched; and
8. Jail registers, including jail blotter data or jail booking information recorded on persons at the time of incarceration showing the name of each prisoner with the date and cause of his commitment, the authority committing him, whether committed for a criminal offense, a description of his person, and the date or manner of his discharge or escape.
The Oklahoma Open Records also states, in paragraph B of Subsection 24:
"Except for the records listed in subsection A (above) of this section and those made open by other state or local laws, law enforcement agencies may deny access to law enforcement records except where a court finds that the public interest or the interest of an individual outweighs the reason for denial."
Arrestee information and facts concerning the arrest can be found on the Arrest and Booking Data Sheet. In order to obtain this information, the requestor must provide the name of the individual arrested and an approximate date of arrest (within a few days of the actual date of arrest).
The Records Section does not consistently maintain conviction information. The most up-to-date and accurate source for conviction information is the court in which the conviction was obtained. In Comanche County conviction information for state felonies and misdemeanors can be obtained from the Comanche County District Court Clerks’ Office. Conviction information on municipal misdemeanors can be obtained from the City of Lawton Municipal Court Clerk’s Office.
The disposition of warrants can be obtained through the court issuing the warrant. Copies of outstanding City of Lawton Municipal warrants can be obtained through the City of Lawton Municipal Court Clerk’s Office.
A chronological list of incidents does not exist in written form. Records personnel are able to search a computer database by name or location to locate a specific report. Generalized requests for information, such as the number of drunk driving arrests, the number of accidents at an intersection, or the number of burglaries in a geographic area can only be obtained by running a search of the computer database. Requests of this nature should be directed in writing to the Chief of Police. The requestor will have to pay a research fee to obtain this information.
The department prepares a monthly report listing a summary of crimes reported by crime type. This report also contains summary information about the number of people arrested by crime type. This information can be obtained from the Records Section.
Radio logs are maintained by City of Lawton Emergency Communications Division.
Title 10, Chapter 73 of the Oklahoma State Statutes is known as the Oklahoma Juvenile Code. Paragraph A states: "Except as provided by this section or as otherwise specifically provided by state or federal laws, the following juvenile records are confidential and shall not be open to the general public, inspected, or their contents disclosed." The list of confidential records includes law enforcement records. Therefore, the Records Section is unable to release any record on a juvenile, including arrest records or reports in which the victim was a juvenile. These records cannot be released to the juvenile or his parents or guardian. Title 10 does specifically state that records of traffic violations are not considered confidential.
All subpoenas should be addressed to the Chief of Police/Keeper of Records. They can be delivered to the Records Section. Each subpoena received will be reviewed by an officer designated by the Chief of Police. The department does have the right to contest a subpoena if it feels releasing the information requested would be a violation of state or federal law. After a subpoena has been reviewed and approved by the designated officer, and the information requested meets the guidelines of the Oklahoma Open Records Act, the information will be obtained. The individual requesting the subpoenaed materials will then be contacted for materials to be picked up.
Any individual has the right to view any records we maintain on them; however, they can only view their own records. No one except a law enforcement officer can view another persons criminal arrest record. A supervisor will review the record with the individual. The individual has the right to purchase a copy of any documents in their record; however, we do not provide the subject with a computer printout of their record.
If a person states that their record is incorrect, we conduct an investigation that usually includes taking the person’s fingerprints and comparing them against the fingerprint on the arrest report. If there is not a fingerprint on the arrest we will look at mug shots or compare physical descriptions. If we find errors, we make corrections and notify all law enforcement agencies to which we have contributed information, such as the Comanche County District Court Clerk’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the City Prosecutor, the O.S.B.I., and the Department of Public Safety.