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MISSION STATEMENT

 

 
It is the policy of the Medina County Sheriff's Office that openness leads to a better informed citizenry, which leads to better government and better public policy. Consistent with the premise that government at all levels exists first and foremost to serve the interests of the people, it is the mission and intent of the Medina County Sheriff's Office to at all times fully comply with and abide by both the spirit and the letter of Ohio's Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act.

 
DEFINING PUBLIC RECORDS

 


All records of the Medina County Sheriff's Office are public unless they are specifically exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Revised Code. All records must be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying.
 
Public records are defined to include the following: Any document - paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format - that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of the Medina County Sheriff's Office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.

 
RESPONSE TIMEFRAME

 

 
Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. "Prompt" and "reasonable" take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
 
Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. Routine requests for records should be satisfied immediately if feasible to do so. Routine requests include, but are not limited to, meeting minutes (both in draft and final form), budgets, salary information, forms and applications, personnel rosters, etc. If the records are readily available in an electronic format that can be e-mailed or downloaded easily, these should be made as quickly as the equipment allows.
 
All requests for public records must either be satisfied or be acknowledged in writing within three business days following the office's receipt of the request.
 
If a request is made by a member of the media, the recipient of the request must notify the Sheriff.

 
HANDLING REQUESTS

 

 
Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the office must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requester in revising the request by informing the requester of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
 
The requester does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. It is the office's general policy that this information is not to be requested.
 
In processing the request, the office does not have an obligation to create new records or perform new analysis of existing information. An electronic record is deemed to exist so long as a computer is already programmed to produce the record through simple sorting, filtering, or querying. Although not required by law, the office should accommodate the requester by generating new records, in order to make otherwise public records available and protect records that are legitimately exempt from disclosure, when it makes sense and is practical under the circumstances.
 
In processing a request for inspection of a public record, an office employee must accompany the requester during inspection to make certain original records are not taken or altered.
 
If a request is for records that may be exempt or prohibited from disclosure, or if the request presents a high probability of litigation or any other unique issue, the recipient of the request must contact the Medina County Prosecutor as the request is being processed. The Prosecutor's Office may assist in processing the request.
 
A copy of the most recent edition of the Ohio Sunshine Laws manual is available to all employees of the office via the intranet for the purpose of keeping employees educated as to the office's obligations under the public records law.
 

ELECTRONIC RECORDS

 

 
Documents in electronic mail format or sent via a hand-held communications device are public records when their content relates to the business of the Medina County Sheriff's Office. E-mail and instant messages are to be treated in the same fashion as records in other formats.
 
Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to disclosure, and all employees or representatives of this office are required to copy their e-mails that relate to public business to their business e-mail accounts and retain them in accordance with applicable records retention schedules.

 
DENIAL OR REDACTION OF A REQUEST

 

 
If the requester makes an ambiguous or overly broad request or has difficulty in making a request for public records, the request may be denied, but the denial must provide the requester an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which records are maintained and accessed by the office.
 
Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If the initial request was made in writing, the explanation must also be in writing. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. All redactions shall be plainly visible. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.

 
COPYING AND MAILING COSTS

 

 
Those seeking public records may be charged only the actual cost of making copies, not labor:

 
* The charge for paper copies is 10 cents per page. Three (3) pages or less will be at no charge.
* The charge for downloaded computer files to a compact disc is $1 per disc.
 

 
A requester may be required to pay in advance for costs involved in providing the copy. The requester may choose whether to have the record duplicated upon paper, upon the same medium in which the public record is kept, or any other medium on which the record can be duplicated.
 
If a requester asks that documents be mailed to them, they will be charged the actual cost of the postage and mailing supplies. There is no charge for documents e-mailed.

 
JUVENILE RECORDS

 

 
All photographs and fingerprints of juveniles in Medina County are collected and maintained by the Medina County Juvenile Court by way of the Juvenile Detention Center. No Juveniles are fingerprinted or photographed by the Medina County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). If the need arises during an investigation that a juvenile needs to be photographed or fingerprints taken, it is done so at the direction of Juvenile Court by way of a court order. Once obtained, they are then kept separate in a red file and marked juvenile and maintained in the Detective Bureau. Once the investigation is complete, the photos and fingerprints are then turned over to Juvenile Court pursuant to the order of the court.
 
The MCSO does not generate or retain any juvenile criminal records. All juvenile criminal records are kept at Juvenile Court, located at the Medina County Courthouse. MCSO does not fingerprint or photograph juveniles. When a deputy makes contact with a juvenile, the deputy is instructed to contact the duty juvenile screener. Deputies do arrest juveniles on unruly and other related offenses. After they are arrested, they are turned over to juvenile court authorities (Detention Center). MCSO deputies do not bring any juveniles to the MCSO for incarceration. Juvenile criminal history records are not maintained at the MCSO. The only records of juveniles that are kept at the MCSO are the incident reports made by the deputy at the time of contact. All incident reports involving juveniles as suspects are filed in a separate filing cabinet, stamped on the front of the report "Juvenile" in red letters and placed in red folders. All investigative reports that have a juvenile suspect are stamped "Juvenile" in red letters and placed in red folders. These investigative files are kept in the Detective Bureau. All reports are submitted to Juvenile Court for screening, before the filing of any charges.

 
RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULE

 

 
In accordance with ORC section 149.38 a records retention schedule has been established. No records are to be returned, transferred, destroyed or otherwise disposed of in violation of this schedule. Records will not be destroyed regardless of the retention schedule, if in the opinion of the Sheriff; they pertain to any future or pending case, claim or action. The following is not an inclusive list. See Certificate of Records Disposal kept by the Administrative Services Commander.

 

 
RECORDS RETENTION SCHEDULE
 
 
  Description of Record Retention Period  
  Accident Reports (originals) 6 years, paper copy  
  Activity Reports 2 years  
  Annual Budget (copy) Permanent (1 copy)  
  Audit Report (from State Examiner) Permanent (1 copy)  
  Bank Deposit Slips/Statements Audit + 3 years  
  Canceled Checks Audit + 3 years  
  Cash Book Audit + 3 years  
  Civil Case Docket 5 years after last order served  
  Commitment/Release Sheets 1 year after recorded  
  Execution Docket Permanent  
  Field Interrogation Cards 2 years  
  Fingerprint Record 10 years after most recent arrest or reaches age of 80  
  Foreclosure Files Sale + 2 years; audit  
  Foreign Execution Docket Permanent  
  Foreign Writs 7 years after receipt  
  Insurance Policies 2 years after expiration  
  Inventory of County Property Audit + 3 years  
  Invoices Audit + 3 years  
  Jail Inmate Account Records 3 years; audit  
  Jail Inmate Medical Records 6 years  
  Jail Jackets 6 years  
  Jail Register Permanent  
  Job Descriptions Superseded or abolished  
  Juvenile Arrest Records Permanent  
  Juvenile Offense Reports Age of majority  
  Leases - equipment 2 years after expiration  
  Leases - real estate 5 years after expiration + audit  
  Leave Requests Audit + 3 years  
  Master Card Criminal Index Permanent - most recent copy only  
  Master Open Files Permanent  
  Offense Reports 2 years (paper copy)  
  Overtime Records 3 years; audited  
  Personnel Files Permanent  
  Publications Permanent  
  Purchase Orders Audit + 3 years  
  Receipt Books Audit + 3 years  
  Reference Materials Until superseded, obsolete, or replaced  
  Requisitions Audit + 3 years  
  Record of Writs & Summons 7 years  
  Travel Expense Reports Audit + 3 years  
  Applications for Employment 1 year  
  Photographic Negatives (accidents)
                    microfilmed (fatalities)
3 years
6 years
 
       
       
 
   
   
  Copyright © 2014
Medina County Sheriff's Office
555 Independence Dr. Medina, OH 44256
 
Last Updated: 05/09/08