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Public Records Act Request

Public records are defined as any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business.

These records are prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. 

How to Make a Public Records Act Request

Include the following information to ensure the scope of the request is understood and clear enough for personnel to determine if we have the records you are requesting.

  • The date(s) of the record
  • The subject of the record
  • A clear and specific description of the record
  • Any additional information that helps staff identify the record
  • Your complete contact information, so that we may notify you when your request is available

Make a Public Records Act Request

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Make a Public Records Request?

Any person can make a Public Records request. You can choose to provide your information or remain anonymous, however, the City will not be able to provide updates or seek clarification on anonymous CPRA requests. It will be the requester’s responsibility to check the portal for records that are posted publicly on the portal in response to their request.

What Types of Records Are Available?

It is the responsibility of SDPD to allow the public access to certain information obtained during the normal course of daily business. Certain records or portions of records may be subject to privacy laws or other exemptions and unavailable for viewing.

Possible Exemptions

Government Code section 6254 specifies exemptions in order to balance an individual's right to privacy with the public's need for information. Items that will most likely be withheld or redacted from San Diego Police Department public records are:

  • Juvenile information 
  • Victim information associated with crimes related to Penal Code Sections 261, 264, 264.1, 273a, 273d, 286, 288 or 289 
  • Confidential informant information 
  • Criminal offender record information 
  • Information that may endanger the safety of a witness or person involved in an incident
  • Information that may jeopardize an investigation, related investigation, or law enforcement proceeding 
  • Any portion of the report that reflects analysis, recommendation, or conclusion of the investigating officer 
  • Information that may disclose investigative techniques 
  • Preliminary drafts, notes, or memorandums which are not retained in the ordinary course of business 
  • Records pertaining to pending litigation to which the city is a party until the litigation is adjudicated or settled 
  • Personnel, medical, or similar files 
  • Peace Officers’ personnel files, including investigation of citizen complaints or any related discipline

What Records Can I Find Online?

Many records are available online and for immediate review, including:

  • News Releases
  • Megan’s Law Website
  • Open Data Portal (includes calls for service, RIPA, and 72-hour vehicle abatement request data)
  • Crime Statistics
  • Mandated Disclosures - Includes information related to mandated disclosures by state or local legislation such as records released under SB 1421, SB 16 or AB 748 for officer-involved shootings, certain use of force incidents, or sustained findings of sexual assault or dishonesty by an officer.

How about Traffic Accident and Police Reports?

Police reports are not released to arrested individuals and/or suspects. These individuals may obtain reports through their legal representatives through the discovery and/or subpoena process.

Under Vehicle Code section 20012, anyone subject to civil liability gets a copy of the accident report, including:

  • Drivers
  • Injured passengers
  • Insurance companies
  • Employers (if driver is an employee).
  • Does NOT apply to trolleys or bicycles unless a vehicle is also involved

Get a copy of a police report

Get a copy of a traffic accident report