Editor’s note: The word “profit” was replaced with “revenue” for accuracy.
Getting a copy of your police report didn’t use to cost you much. But now the city looks to increase its revenue per record released.
Maricopa City Council will take action to levy new fees for accessing public records during its Tuesday meeting.
Resolution 23-55 would most notably increase the fees for accessing copies of police and fire reports. Other fee increases include video and audio recordings, as well as photos.
Under the resolution, the minimum fee for requesting a copy of a police or fire report begins at $5 for the first nine pages and increases $5 every 19 pages after. Video recording would cost $45 per copy, audio recordings $10 per copy and digital copies of photos will run you $10 per disk.
In June, the Arizona legislature passed a bill allowing municipalities to “establish a fee of up to $46 per video-hour for a public records request to a local law enforcement agency for a copy of a video recording.”
City officials also cited man hours in justifying the increase.
“All requests for videos require that a staff member sit and review the video in its entirety and make the necessary redactions,” according to a staff report sent to InMaricopa. “If the video recordings involve minors, it can take hours to redact as each image of the minor has to be blurred out.”
Pricing in nearby cities varies.
Casa Grande charges $7 for the first 10 pages of a police report and $25 for audio, video and photos. Chandler charges $5 for the first 35 pages of a police report, $25 for videos, $10 for audio and $5 for digital photos. Tempe charges $5 for the first 20 pages of a police report and $10 for audio, video and photos.
The city previously made adjustments to its fee schedule for police and fire reports in 2007, when it charged $5 for the first 35 pages. In April 2022, it also updated a fee schedule for commercial records.
City and state governments reported an increase in public records requests in recent years. This includes the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, which saw requests increase fivefold, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
Some have responded by levying additional fees. Earlier this month, New Hampshire legislators announced plans to introduce a bill that would charge up to $25 per hour for extensive records searches.