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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT


The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located at §2.3-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

A public record is any writing or recording - regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format - that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of, a public body or its officers, employees, or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies. 

HOW TO SUBMIT A REQUEST

 

If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Goochland County Sheriff's Office, you may do so by one the following methods:

  • Email our FOIA Officer, Roslyn Woodson

  • Phone: (804) 556-5349

  • Fax: (804) 556-5672

  • Mail: Goochland County Sheriff's Office; P. O. Box 29, Goochland, VA 23063

  • In person: 2938 River Rd W, Goochland, VA 23063, Building C

Publicly available police reports and records may be obtained from the public information window at 2938 River Road West, Goochland, VA 23063, Building C. The hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 8 AM - 4:30 PM and Friday, 8 AM - 4 PM.

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SERVICES & FEES FOR PUBLICLY AVAILABLE RECORDS

Copy of Accident Report - (No fee for victim) - $6

Copy of Incident Report (No fee for victim) - $6

FULFILLING YOUR REQUEST

 

The Goochland County Sheriff's Office will respond within five business days of receiving a request. The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays. Virginia FOIA requires that the Sheriff's Office make one of the following responses to your request within the five-day time period:

  • Provide the records requested in their entirety.

  • Withhold all of the records requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, a response in writing will be sent with an explanation of the exemption. That response will identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows the records to be withheld.

  • Provide some of the records requested, but withhold other records. An entire record will not be withheld if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, the portion of the record that may be withheld will be redacted, the remainder of the record will be provided. A written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld will be sent.

  • Respond in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist. However, if GCSO has knowledge that another public body has the requested records, contact information for the other public body will be included in the response.

  • If the Sheriff's Office cannot respond to a request within the five-day period, you will be informed in writing, of the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow seven additional business days to respond to a request, providing a total of 12 business days to respond to a request.

EXEMPTIONS UNDER FOIA

 

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records for public disclosure. Goochland County commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

  • Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1) of the Code of Virginia)
     

  • Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))
     

  • Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))
     

  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))
     

  • Documents related to the negotiation or award of a specific contract
     

  • Documents compiled for use in a closed session
     

  • Documents required to be kept confidential by law

COSTS

 

  • "A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records and shall make all reasonable efforts to supply the requested records at the lowest possible cost. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. Prior to conducting a search for records, the public body shall notify the requester in writing that the public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for requested records and inquire of the requester whether he would like to request a cost estimate in advance of the supplying of the requested records as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia."

  • If the estimated cost is more than $200, a deposit may be required (not to exceed the amount of the estimate), before proceeding with your request.  The five days to respond to a request does not include the time between a request for a deposit and a response from the requester.

  • Costs include items such as staff time, copying costs or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It will not include general overhead costs.

  • If money is owed from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, the Goochland County Sheriff's Office may require payment of the past-due bill before responding to a new FOIA request.

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