CABQ: What’s Causing Delay in Fulfilling My Public Records Request?

The City of Albuquerque has still not fulfilled a public records request submitted May 3rd, and I’m starting to get pissed off.

Over the past few years, I’ve requested and received police crash and supplemental investigation reports on cases involving pedestrian fatalities. Readers will recall reference to those provided reports in stories appearing here. Similar to those prior years, this year’s May 3rd request called for all prior year, 2020, pedestrian fatality cases.

Since May 3rd, I’ve received a few updates from City Clerk staffers regarding reasons for the delay. “Historic number of public records requests…,” “My office had to reach out to a different unit…” and “initial confusion as to what information I was requesting from the department” being my particular favorite excuses, particularly as I’d asked for the exact same information in prior years.

So what the Hell is going on?

My simmering level of upset about the situation reached closer to boil this morning when I searched status of other CABQ requests through the public records website.

I’m Request 21-3430 here

The requests are numbered chronologically, so my request 21-3430 was placed prior to 21-3432, etc. And while my “status” is still open, all those subsequent requests are status closed. What’s up with that?

Moreover, I filtered the search to find only open requests and see this:

Yup. Mine is evidently the only open public records request in town. And it’s been open since May 3rd.

“Why is this the case?” is the first question, naturally followed by that more disturbing question: “Does the nature of my request have anything to do with it not being fulfilled?”

At present, despite my near boiling level of pissed-off, I’m sticking with a self-answer of “No, the nature of the request does not have anything to do with it. There’s just ‘a historic number of requests,’ and ‘confusion,’ and other perfectly not ‘nature of request’ reasons for this unreasonable delay.”

But it’s getting harder and harder over time to stick with that answer; today’s search through the CABQ website makes it almost impossibly hard.

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