After a FOIA request is received, it is reviewed by a member of the FOIA Team and sent to the police department or to the City department that holds the requested records.
You will receive a reply to your request within five business days. This reply may be one of the following five responses, which are outlined in Virginia Code 2.2-3704(B), part of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act:
1. The requested records are being entirely withheld. It is our responsibility to inform you of the volume of records (such as the number of pages) and their general subject matter. We also must cite the specific section of Virginia law that authorizes us, or mandates us, to withhold the records.
2. The requested records are being provided in part and are being withheld in part. It is our responsibility to inform you of the specific section of Virginia law that authorizes us, or mandates us, to withhold the records.
3. The requested records could not be found or do not exist. This response will be necessary in cases where no records are held by the City or the Norfolk Police Department, or when records have been lost or damaged, such as by fire or flood. However, if we learn that the records might be held by another public body, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles or the Virginia State Police, we will include contact information for the other public body in our response.
4. It is not practically possible to provide the requested records or to determine whether they are available within the five-work-day period. If we require more time to complete the processing of your request, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act generally allows us to invoke an extension of seven business days. This is allowed if we invoke this extension within five business days after we have received your request. Our invocation of the extension will include one or more of several reasons allowed by the FOIA, such as a need for the records to be reviewed by a City attorney, or because the custodian of the requested records is out of the office. This response is necessary if, for example, the City staff member who holds the records is on vacation.
5. If your request includes criminal investigative files as outlined in Virginia Code 2.2-3706.1, we will have 60 business days in which to provide a response to you.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act requires that requesters identify the records they are seeking with “reasonable specificity.” If we can’t identify the records you are requesting, we may need to contact you to better understand what you are looking for.
After you submit your request for records, it will be forwarded to the relevant department(s) to locate the records you seek and to determine the volume of those records and any costs associated with satisfying your request. You will be contacted about the availability of and/or provided with copies of the records in question.