FOIA FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is meant as a general guide for:

(This is not a thorough treatment of the Act. For more information, refer to the Illinois Attorney General’s FOIA website.)

Frequently Asked Questions by Requestors

1.  What is the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides public access to government documents and records. As a public institution, the Tolono Police Department is subject to the Illinois FOIA.

3.  Is there a charge to view or receive public records?
You may view responsive documents by appointment at no charge.

Documents may also be delivered by email at no charge.

4.  What types of records are available to the public?
Under FOIA, “[a]ll records in the custody or possession of a public body are presumed to be open to inspection or copying.” The Act does, however, recognize that in order to enable public bodies to perform certain governmental functions properly and to protect personal privacy, some records and information need to be kept confidential.

5.  What types of records are exempt from public inspection?
Public records that are exempt from inspection and copying include: information specifically prohibited from disclosure by federal and state law; personal information about employees; minutes of meetings closed to the public; and much more.

A complete listing of exemptions is in Section 7 of the Act (look for “5 ILCS 140/7”).

6.  When will requested records be available?
The FOIA officer will contact you within five business days of the request being received in the appropriate office. At that time, access to the documents may be granted, denied, or an extension of the deadline may be invoked. This extension grants the FOIA officer an additional five business days to collect and review documents.

If the request is for commercial purposes, the FOIA office has 21 business days to respond.

7.  What happens when a request is denied?
The FOIA officer will notify you within five working days or within the extended deadline. The notification will be in the form of an email (or a mailed letter if no email address that explains the reasons for the denial.

8.  Can denials be appealed?
Appeals of a decision to redact information from, or deny access to, public records must be submitted to the Office of the Public Access Counselor in the Office of the Attorney General not later than 60 days after the date of the final denial. The request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include (i) a copy of the request for access to records and (ii) any responses from the public body.

The Public Access Counselor may be reached at:

Public Access Bureau
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
217-558-0486publicaccess@atg.state.il.us

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