From the New England First Amendment Center:
On the surface, it seemed like a simple request. The Enterprise (Brockton, Mass.) reporter Erin Shannon sent public information requests to seven community police departments asking for data on the number of motor vehicle stops by town police for 2010 and 2011. She also asked for the results of those stops: arrests, criminal complaints, civil complaints, warrants or verbal warnings and for the total collected in fines for that period, including what amount of those fines the town got to keep....
Most agencies responded quickly with no or minimal costs, but not Abington, Mass:
Chief Majenski is not one to be overly forthcoming with information about anything. It’s been an ongoing issue for several years – one we have attempted to resolve with meetings, calls and letters.
In this instance, the chief responded in time and in writing. He and his records clerk estimated the cost for providing the data would be $15, 954. You read that number correctly – a few bucks shy of $16,000.
In a case like this, you have to ask: is there a simpler request that would return most of the information at a lower cost, or is the Chief simply being intractable and quoting an absurdly high figure to avoid public review of the department's actions? Find out by reading the full story, Abington traffic stop data still under wraps.