The state Legislature is considering exemption to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act would prohibit the release of 911 emergency audio calls. Monitoring the responsiveness of police, fire, EMT and dispatchers is a vital part of transparency and accountability in government.
House Bill 4011 was introduced by Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, on Jan. 22 and referred to the Committee on Oversight. Heise’s district includes Northville, Northville Township, the city of Plymouth, Plymouth Township and the eastern area of Canton Township.
The bill goes before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, April 23. Committee chairman Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hils, can be reached at (866) 969-0450 or by email at TomMcMillin@house.mi.gov. Please share your comments on this proposed change.
The relevant part of the Bill reads as follows:
“A bill to amend 1976 PA 442, …the “Freedom of Information Act,”
(Z) EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, AND UNLESS THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSURE UNDER THIS ACT OUTWEIGHS THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN NONDISCLOSURE IN A PARTICULAR INSTANCE, AUDIO RECORDINGS OF EMERGENCY TELEPHONE CALLS MADE TO A 9-1-1 SYSTEM UNDER THE EMERGENCY 9-1-1 SERVICE ENABLING ACT, 1986 PA 32, 24 MCL 484.1101 TO 484.1717. THIS SUBDIVISION DOES NOT APPLY TO WRITTEN RECORDS, TRANSCRIPTS, OR OTHER WRITTEN REPORTS RELATING TO THE EMERGENCY TELEPHONE CALL. THIS SUBDIVISION DOES NOT APPLY TO AUDIO RECORDINGS UNDER 1 OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:
(i) THE CALLER WHOSE VOICE IS ON THE AUDIO RECORDING, OR, IF THE CALLER IS DECEASED OR INCAPACITATED, THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CALLER, REQUESTS A COPY OF THE AUDIO RECORDING. A REQUEST UNDER THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL BE ACCOMPANIED BY A SIGNED AFFIDAVIT ATTESTING TO ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(A) THE AFFIANT IS THE CALLER OR, IF THE CALLER IS DECEASED OR INCAPACITATED, THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CALLER.
(B) THE AUDIO RECORDING IS RELEVANT TO AN INVESTIGATION OF A LEGAL MATTER ARISING FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO THE EMERGENCY TELEPHONE CALL.
(ii) THE REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE IS FROM A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY CONDUCTING AN INVESTIGATION RELATED TO THE EMERGENCY TELEPHONE CALL.
(iii) A COURT ORDERS THE RELEASE OF THE AUDIO RECORDING.”