The Washington Public Records Act (Chapter 42.56 RCW) and other statutes govern the release of records from public agencies in Washington State, including police departments. The following information provides an explanation of what records are maintained by the Sumner Police Department and the process for making a public records request.
Police and Animal Control Case Reports
The Sumner Police Department only maintains records and formal reports for the following agencies:
- Sumner Police Department
- Metro Animal Services
When an incident results in a formal written police report (or animal control report), the documentation is maintained by the Sumner Police Department. To make a request for these records, please visit our NextRequest portal.
Dispatch and 911 Records
Almost all police and fire departments in Pierce County are partnered with South Sound 911, a consolidated public safety communications and service agency which provides county-wide 911 and non-emergency call-receiving, police and fire dispatching, and other related functions 24 hours per day.
Calls for service are input into South Sound 911’s CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system. These entries are called “CAD events” or “CAD logs”. This is where dispatchers and officers can write notes or updates as the event progresses. When the agency’s response to an event is concluded, the CAD event is closed, and a decision is made whether or not to write a formal report.
There are times in which an event may be closed at the dispatch level, and may not result in a formal police report. However, the “CAD log” will still exist with any notes entered at the time of the event. Because these records are owned and maintained by South Sound 911, CAD, 911, and other dispatch records must be requested directly through them.
Prosecutor and Court Records
These records must be requested through the particular court in which the case was tried or processed. In general, the Sumner Municipal Court (253-862-6606) handles misdemeanor cases, and the Pierce County Superior Court (253-798-7455) handles felony cases.
The Sumner City Attorney’s Office (253-299-5610) typically prosecutes misdemeanor cases in the city, and the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office (253-798-7400) typically handles felony cases.
Is there a cost for obtaining public records?
There may be, depending on several factors. In cases where there is, or might be, a cost to obtain certain public records, a cost estimate and/or notification will always be provided.
How long will it take to receive records?
Processing times can vary widely due to a number of reasons, including our current workload, the complexity of your request, and the amount of other requests received throughout the day or week.
State law allows an agency five business days to provide an initial response to a public disclosure request. Within this timeframe we are required to do one or more of the following – fulfill your request, deny your request, or provide a reasonable estimate for fulfillment.
We fulfill a majority of requests (over 90%) within five business days. If we are not able to fulfill your request within that timeframe, we will notify you with an initial time estimate and/or other explanation. Due to the time it takes to research and process each request, we cannot offer same-day or “while you wait” service, and we cannot guarantee that your records will be ready by a certain date. Please keep this in mind if you have a court/hearing date or other time constraint.
How To Make A Request For Records
Please use the City of Sumner’s online NextRequest system to make a request for public records. When making your request, please follow the instructions to provide us with the appropriate search parameters and contact information. Using a valid email address will allow the system to provide notifications regarding your request, including when there are updates, messages from staff, or if/when documents are released for download. When documents are released, they can be downloaded by logging into the request page.
Redactions and Exemptions
State and federal law prohibit or exempt the release of certain public records. Prior to release, all documents are screened and appropriately redacted or withheld. A brief explanation of any exemptions will be included.
Annually, the Washington State Office of the Code Reviser publishes a list of public disclosure exemptions contained in the Revised Code of Washington. That list can be accessed through the Washington State Attorney General’s Office website.
Cancelled Or Abandoned Requests
Our staff will typically send you messages via emails which are sent through the NextRequest system. If we do not receive any response, we may attempt to reach you by phone or whatever contact method(s) you provided in your request. If we do not hear from you after that, we may consider your request abandoned and close it.
If you make a request but then change your mind or otherwise wish to cancel it, please let us know via NextRequest or call us so we can discontinue processing it.
Criminal History Record Information (Background Checks)
The Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section (WASIS) has established the WATCH website as the official online resource for criminal history conviction records for the state of Washington. This database is comprised of records sent to WASIS by courts and criminal justice agencies throughout the state of Washington only. This database includes conviction information, arrests less than one year old with dispositions pending, and information regarding registered sex and kidnap offenders.
Please review the WATCH website and their FAQ page for more information on requesting criminal history record information. Alternatively, you may call the WSP Identification Section at (360) 534-2000.
Based at the police desk in City Hall, our two Records Specialists are responsible for a wide variety of specialized support services, including customer relations, records and database management, case report processing and distribution, public disclosure, concealed pistol licenses, investigative assistance, and much more.
Often the first point of contact for many visitors to the department, our Records Specialists maintain a thorough understanding of the many different facets and processes of the criminal justice system in order to provide the best service possible.
The records desk is located at the police window just inside the main doors of City Hall.
Sumner Police Department
1104 Maple Street
Sumner, WA 98390
Non-Emergency / Dispatch: 253-287-4455 or toll-free 1-800-592-9800
Administrative Offices: 253-863-6384
Animal Control: 253-299-PETS (7387)