NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
In re: Rebecca Shryock/Kentucky State Police
This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal by Rebecca
Shryock in connection with her attempts to secure copies of documents
from the Kentucky State Police.
In a letter to Diane Smith, Custodian of Records, Kentucky State
Police, dated June 19, 1997, Ms. Shryock requested "a copy
of the complaint and findings of the investigation Detective Simpson
conducted which involved me." Ms. Shryock said that it was
her understanding that an earlier request by her for the documents
in question had been delayed because of an investigation being
conducted involving her and food stamps reported missing from
the food stamp vault.
Ms. Smith advised Ms. Shryock, in a letter dated June 26, 1997,
The Kentucky Open Records Law provides that all public documents
are available for inspection unless exempt pursuant to a particular
provision. KRS 61.878(1)(l) exempts records made confidential
by separate statute. The records you seek were made for and provided
to the Cabinet for Human Resources and are exempt from the Open
Records Law pursuant to KRS 205.175. Therefore, your request
for the report is denied.
Ms. Shryock's letter of appeal was received by this office on
July 7, 1997.
Ms. Smith responded to the letter of appeal in a letter dated
July 11, 1997, and advised that the records sought are reports
made at the request of the Cabinet for Human Resources relative
to food stamp fraud and the Cabinet's required administration
of the food stamp program. She said KRS 205.175 provides that
such materials are confidential and Ms. Shryock is not one of
the persons mentioned in KRS 205.175(2) pertaining to the exceptions
KRS 205.175(1), a part of KRS Chapter 205 pertaining to "Public
Assistance and Medical Assistance," states in part as follows:
All letters, reports, communications, and other matters, written
or oral, to the cabinet or any of its agents, representatives,
or employees, or to any board or official functioning under this
chapter which have been written, sent or made in connection with
the requirements and administration of the cabinet shall be absolutely
privileged and shall not be the subject matter or basis for any
suit for slander or libel in any court[.]
It is our understanding that the Cabinet requested the State
Police to investigate the matter involving Rebecca Shryock and
the food stamps reported missing from the food stamp vault. The
matter was investigated by the State Police and the results and
findings of the investigation were delivered to the Cabinet.
Apparently nothing further has transpired, at least as far as
Rebecca Shryock is concerned.
KRS 205.175(2) sets forth the exceptions to the confidentiality
provisions. None of the five categories of exceptions apply to
Ms. Shryock although, had there been a hearing before the secretary
or his duly authorized representative, she may have been able
to obtain some information by invoking the exception set forth
in KRS 205.175(2)(d).
In OAG 91-173, copy enclosed, this office dealt with an investigation
by the State Police and a confidentiality provision in a statute
applicable to the Cabinet for Human Resources relative to such
investigations. At page eleven of that opinion this office said
Rather, it is the opinion of this office that under the specific
facts presented in this appeal, the Kentucky State Police and
the Cabinet for Human Resources conducted a joint investigation
and obtained its information jointly and therefore KRS 620.050(4)
is applicable. . . . This opinion merely confirms the
statutory language of KRS 620.050(4) which specifies that information,
which obviously includes information contained in records, shall
not be divulged by anyone if obtained by the Cabinet for Human
Resources, even if the information was obtained through a joint
investigation with the Kentucky State Police.
KRS 61.878(1)(l) provides that among the public records which
are excluded from public inspection in the absence of a court
order are, "Public records or information the disclosure
of which is prohibited or restricted or otherwise made confidential
by enactment of the General Assembly."
It may be that there are also provisions of the federal law
necessitating confidentiality in this matter but the Kentucky
State Police has not cited such provisions.
It is, therefore, the decision of the Attorney General that
the Kentucky State Police has not violated the Open Records Act
by withholding documents relative to an investigation conducted
by the State Police at the request of the Cabinet for Families
and Children relative to food stamps reported missing from the
food stamp vault. Such withholding of documents is supported
by KRS 61.878(1)(l) and KRS 205.175(1).
A party aggrieved by this decision may appeal it by initiating
action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5)
and KRS 61.882. Pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), the Attorney General
should be notified of any action in circuit court, but should
not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceeding.
Thomas R. Emerson
Assistant Attorney General
Copies of this decision
have been distributed to:
2133 Bryant Benson Road
Frankfort KY 40601-7707
Diane H. Smith
Official Custodian of Records
Kentucky State Police
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort KY 40601