Right to Access Public Data
The Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13) presumes that all government data are public unless a state or federal law says the data are not public. The Government Data Practices Act also provides that the City of North Branch must keep all government data in a way that makes it easy for you, as a member of the public, to access public data. You have the right to look at (inspect), free of charge, all public data that we keep. You also have the right to get copies of public data. The Government Data Practices Act allows us to charge for copies. You have the right to look at data, free of charge, before deciding to request copies.
Data about you are classified by state law as public, private, or confidential.
- Public data: We must give public data to anyone who asks; it does not matter who is asking for the data or why.
- Private data: We cannot give private data to the general public, but you have access when the data are about you. We can share your private data with you, with someone who has your permission, with our government entity staff who need the data to do their work, and as permitted by law or court order.
- Confidential data: Confidential data have the most protection. Neither the public nor you can get access even when the confidential data are about you. We can share confidential data about you with our government entity staff who need the data to do their work and to others as permitted by law or court order. We cannot give you access to confidential data.
***Parents have the right to look at and get copies of public and private data about your minor children (under the age of 18). Legally appointed guardians also have the right to look at and get copies of public and private data about an individual for whom they are appointed guardians.
***Minors have the right to ask the City of North Branch not to give data about them to their parent or guardian. If you are a minor, we will tell you that you have this right. We may ask you to put your request in writing and to include the reasons that we should deny your parents access to the data. We will make the final decision about your request based on your best interests.
How to Make a Data Request
For information requests or to look at/obtain copies of police reports from the North Branch Police Department, you can make a written request by using one of the data request forms listed at the bottom of the page. You may mail your request to the North Branch Police Department, email the request to our police assistant, Marcy Meyer, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax the request to 651-674-2423. You may also make your request in person at the North Branch Police Department during normal business hours, Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If you choose not to use one of the data request forms, your request should include:
that you, as a member of the public, are making a request for data under the Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13;
whether you would like to look at the data, get copies of the data, or both; and
a clear description of the data you would like to inspect or have copied.
The North Branch Police Department cannot require you, as a member of the public, to identify yourself or explain the reason for your data request. However, depending on how you want us to process your request (if, for example, you want us to mail you copies of data), we may need some information about you. If you choose not to give us any identifying information, we will provide you with contact information so you may check on the status of your request. In addition, please keep in mind that if we do not understand your request and have no way to contact you, we will not be able to begin processing your request.
How We Respond to a Data Request
Upon receiving your request, we will work to process it.
If we do not have the data, we will notify you in writing as soon as reasonably possible.
If we have the data, but the data are not public, we will notify you as soon as reasonably possible and state which specific law says the data are not public.
If we have the data, and the data are public, we will respond to your request appropriately and promptly, within a reasonable amount of time by doing one of the following:
arrange a date, time, and place to inspect data, for free, if your request is to look at the data, or
provide you with copies of the data as soon as reasonably possible. You may choose to pick up your copies, or we will mail or fax them to you. If you want us to send you the copies, you will need to provide us with an address or fax number. We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request if we keep the data in electronic format.
We also will arrange for you to pre-pay for the copies, if applicable, according the following fee schedule set by the City Council:
- Copy of police report - No charge less than 10 pages, $0.25/Page over 10 pages
- State Accident Report - $2.00
- Photographs (On CD) - $10.00/CD
- Photographs - $1.00/Page
If you do not understand some of the data (technical terminology, abbreviations, or acronyms), please let us know. We will give you an explanation if you ask.
The Government Data Practices Act does not require us to create or collect new data in response to a data request if we do not already have the data, or to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if we do not keep the data in that form or arrangement. (For example, if the data you request are on paper only, we are not required to create electronic documents to respond to your request.) If we agree to create data in response to your request, we will work with you on the details of your request, including cost and response time.
In addition, the Government Data Practices Act does not require us to answer questions that are not requests for data.
Requests for Summary Data
Summary data are statistical records or reports that are prepared by removing all identifiers from private or confidential data on individuals. The preparation of summary data is not a means to gain access to private or confidential data. We will prepare summary data if you make your request in writing and pre-pay for the cost of creating the data. Upon receiving your written request, we will respond within ten business days with the data or details of when the data will be ready and how much we will charge.
To request public data/police reports that are not about you, please use the Data Request Form - Member of the Public.
To request public or private data/police reports that are about you, please use the Data Request Form - Data Subjects.