Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)
Q: What is FOIA?
A: FOIA stands for Freedom of Information Act.
- FOIA establishes a citizen's legal right to access government records and information upon request.
- FOIA responses and information are freely available (within set guidelines) but they are not free to obtain; usually, you must pay for the costs of finding, processing, copying and mailing the requested material.
Q: How do I file a FOIA request?
A: File with the City Attorney (for general FOIA requests) or with LPD (for Police FOIA requests)
- FOIA requests for City of Lansing public records must be in writing and sent to the designated FOIA Coordinator:
- City of Lansing FOIA Coordinator
Office of the City Attorney
124 W. Michigan Ave.
City Hall, 5th Floor
Lansing, MI 48933.
You may also make your request in person at the Office of the City Attorney, or fax your request to the City Attorney at 517-483-4081.
- FOIA requests for LPD records should be sent to:
LPD FOIA Coordinator
Lansing Police Department
120 W. Michigan Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933.
You may also make your request in person on the first floor of the Police Building, or by fax at 517-377-0162.
Q: How long does it take to get records under FOIA?
A: Between 5 and 15 days on average.
- The statute allows 5 working-days for the City to respond to a FOIA request.
- An extension of an additional 10 days is allowed under the statute, including if the request requires the City of Lansing to search for, collect, examine, or review a voluminous amount of separate and distinct public records, or to collect the public records from numerous offices, facilities or establishments located apart from this office.
Q: What does it cost to get records pursuant to a FOIA request?
A: Costs vary depending on the quantity and complexity of the documents request.
- The Act allows the City of Lansing to charge for the labor of finding, compiling and reviewing the records.
- Charges are based not on the highest paid FOIA responder in the office, but on the lowest.
- If the charge is expected to exceed $50.00, a letter of notification is sent to the requestor asking for a deposit before proceeding with copying.