Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Requests
Members of the public who are requesting copies of records are encouraged to complete the Request for Public Records form which is available from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office receptionist or by clicking on the following link: Request for Public Records Form (.pdf). The form must be placed in an envelope addressed to:
Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office
2500 Kozloski Road
Freehold, New Jersey 07728
Attn: OPRA Custodian of Records
and either mailed or taken directly to the Sheriff’s Office. This office also accepts requests by fax when clearly addressed to the attention of the “OPRA Custodian of Records” and faxed to 732-845-2036. This office accepts requests by email ONLY at the following address: email@example.com . See Paff v. City of East Orange, 407 N.J. Super. 221, 227-28 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 200 N.J. 476 (2009). When a request is received by email, a confirmation of receipt will be sent in reply; until and unless a reply confirmation is received, requestors should not assume their email request was received by the records custodian. Ibid. Requests sent to other email addresses and/or not addressed to the OPRA Custodian of Records may not be received by the Custodian.
If the custodian is unable to comply with the request, the reasons will be listed in the appropriate section on the form, signed and dated and returned to the party requesting the information. Any part of the requested information which is exempt from public access will be deleted or excised before a copy of the record is provided.
Records will be provided within seven (7) working days of the request unless otherwise advised. If a request cannot be met within that time period, the party requesting the information will be notified within the same seven (7) working days of when the records will be available. If the requested record is not provided after seven days or on the date otherwise specified, it will be deemed to be denied, unless the party requesting the information has elected not to provide a name, address or telephone number or other means of contacting the party requesting the information.
If the request is anonymous then the custodian shall not be required to respond until the party requesting the information reappears before the custodian seeking a response to the original request. If access is denied, a brief explanation will be provided on the form and returned to the party requesting the information.
Fees: All fees must be paid in full before release of records. Checks should be made payable to the County of Monmouth. In accordance with subsection 5 of P.L.2010, c.75 (C.47:1A-5), the copy for a duplication of a government record embodied in the form of printed matter will be subject to the following fee schedule:
- Letter-Sized Pages (8″ x 11″) $0.05 per page
- Legal-Sized Pages (11.5″ x 14″) $0.07 per page
- OR the actual cost for duplication where such cost exceeds the foregoing rates.
Fees for different media will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with subsection 5 of P.L.2010, c.75. (C.47:1A-5). A deposit of $10.00 may be required of any person who makes an anonymous request for records. N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(f). This fee will be automatically credited toward any cost incurred. This office reserves the right to require that all fees must be paid in full before release of requested records. If the cost of producing the records is over $25.00 a deposit may be required before beginning reproduction. All checks payable to the County of Monmouth.
Procedure For Filing An Appeal
A person who is denied access to a government record by the custodian of the record, at the option of the party requesting the information, may:
- institute a proceeding to challenge the custodian’s decision by filing an action in Monmouth County Superior Court which shall be heard by a Superior Court Judge who has been designated to hear such cases because of that judge’s knowledge and expertise in matters relating to access to government records;
- or in lieu of filing an action in Superior Court, file a complaint with the Government Records Council established in subsection 8 of P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-7).
The right to institute any action under this section shall be solely that of the party requesting the information. Any such action shall proceed in a summary or expedited manner. The public agency shall have the burden of proving the denial of access is authorized by law. If it is determined that access has been improperly denied, the court or GRC shall order that access be allowed. The party requesting the information who prevails in any proceeding shall be entitled to a reasonable attorney’s fee.
A Right to Discovery is Separate and Distinct from a Right to Access Public Reocrds
OPRA is a public disclosure statute and is not intended to replace or supplement the discovery of private litigants. Constanting v. Township of Bass River, 406 N.J. Super. 305, 324-25 (App. Div. 2009), certif. denied, 200 N.J. 208 (2009); MAG Entertainment, LLLC v. Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 375 N.J. Super. 534, 545-46 (App. Div. 2005). Requests for discovery of materials that are not public government documents should be made in accordance with the applicable Court Rules.
The Open Public Records Act (OPRA) permits the public to request certain government documents. These documents are available for inspection, examination, and copying purposes. Under OPRA, certain documentation and records are unavailable for public access in order to protect secure information. For detailed information concerning this law, visit www.state.nj.us/opra/ and visit http://www.state.nj.us/grc/ to learn about the Government Records Council.