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California Public Records Act


What is the California Public Records Act?

The California Public Records Act was enacted in 1968 by the California Legislature under Government Code Sections 6250-6270.  The Legislature, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy, finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.

What is a Public Record?

As defined in Government Code 6252(e), “Public records” includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.”

Examples of Public Information

The law requires law enforcement agencies to provide specific information to the public while also balancing individuals’ right to privacy by applying legal exemptions and withholding confidential information. 

In compliance with the California Public Records Act, the Visalia Police Department provides the following information:

  • Daily Calls for Service
  • Adult Arrests
  • Statistical Information
  • Crime Reports
  • Traffic Collision Reports

  • Links to the daily calls for service received by our Dispatch Center as well as Adult arrests information can be found on the department’s main page,  This information is uploaded to our website and refreshed daily. 

Crime reports and Traffic Collision reports are released only to those specified by their governing statutes. 

Exempted Information from Disclosure

The following list is an example of information that is exempt from disclosure per Government Code 6254; however, is not all inclusive:

  • Juvenile Information.
  • Personal information of victims and witnesses.
  • Victim Information relating to Penal Code section 220, 236.1, 261, 261.5, 262, 264, 264.1, 265, 266§,  267, 269, 273a, 273d, 275.5, 286, 288§, 289, 422.6, 422.7. 422.75, 646.9, and 647.6.
  • Identifying confidential informant information.
  • Criminal offender record information.
  • Information that may endanger the safety of a witness or other person.
  • 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. 
  • Information that may deprive a person of a fair trial.
  • Preliminary drafts, notes, or memorandums which are not retained in the ordinary course of business.
  • Records pertaining to a pending litigation to which the city is a party until the litigation is adjudicated or settled.
  • Personnel, medical, or similar files.

Who can request a Public Record?

Anyone can submit a Public Records Act for information; however, public disclosure is regulated by several different statutes dependent upon the record which may exempt the record from disclosure (Government Code 6250 et. seq. and 34090.6, Welfare and Institute 827, California Vehicle Code 20012, Penal Code 293, 841.5, 964, 11167.5, and 13300).

How to submit a Public Records Act Request

Per Government Code 6253(a), “Public records are open to inspections at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided.  Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be available for inspection by any person requesting the record after deletion of the portions that are exempted by law.”

Public Records Act requests can be made verbally or in writing and submitted to the Visalia Police Department, 303 S. Johnson Street, Visalia, CA  93291, during regular business hours (non-holidays), Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.  Please be sure to make a clear and specific request including as much information as possible to assist staff in locating the requested information such as: a police report number, date/time/location, subject(s) of the record and any other applicable information.  Your contact information may be requested in order to notify you when the request has been processed. 


Per Government Code 6253(c), the department has 10 days to determine whether the requested information can be released in whole, redacted, or is exempt from disclosure.  In unusual circumstances the department may request an additional 14 days for production. 


Per Government Code 6253(b), law enforcement agencies may charge the “direct costs” for providing an identifiable record.

The California Public Records Act does not require that an agency provide information in a non-standard format or create a document in which does not already exist.   

Please refer to the City of Visalia’s Rates and Fees 2017-2018 schedule for a complete listing,


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