North Carolina Public Records Law allows citizens to access records of governmental bodies including the Durham Police Department (DPD). Anyone can make these requests in person, by phone or by using the Police-to-Citizen (P2C) portal to enter, retrieve, download or print reports.
Additional records can be accessed through the City of Durham’s public records portal. When submitting a record request, users should give specific details about the subject of their search to allow for an accurate and quicker response.
What Is the North Carolina Public Records Law?
The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides certain federal agency records and information to those who request them in writing. They must include a description of the records being requested as well as the reason why they need it. Under this law, all government agency records can be disclosed to the public unless they are otherwise excluded or exempt from disclosure.
The North Carolina Public Records Law is similar to the FOIA but on a state level. Passed in 1935, it guarantees to the public access to the records of state governmental bodies. Per the statute, records include all documents “made or received pursuant to law or ordinance in connection with the transaction of public business by any agency.”
Anyone can request a public record; they do not need to state a purpose for doing so, and they have no restrictions on how they can use them. There are no fees for Durham public records searches.
Requesting Records From the Durham Police Department
Durham law enforcement agency’s online portal, Police-to-Citizen (P2C), allows North Carolina citizens to enter, retrieve, download and print incident reports, or to perform simple searches. They can:
- File reports for non-emergency incidents.
- Print incident report copies.
- Search law enforcement records by location, name or date.
Individuals searching for police records can also visit the Records Unit at Police Headquarters, 602 East Main Street in Durham. Reports are accessible Monday through Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Citizens can also contact the Records Unit by phone at 919-560-4423 to have a report faxed to them.
Requesting Additional Public Records in Durham
The city of Durham maintains a database of public records for review, but records containing protected information may be not available. Citizens can make records requests through Durham’s public records portal. The city does not allow requests by phone due to tracking and accuracy issues. Anyone needing a record should:
- Be thorough and specific when describing the record they’re requesting. The city may ask for more information if the request is unclear.
- Submit only one request
duplicate requests can delay the city’s response.
Before submitting a request, those looking for information should use the portal’s search function to see the available records. They may find what they need at that point. If not, they can make a request via the portal.
Once the city receives their request, they will get a response by the next business day or within 24 hours to confirm receipt. If the city denies a record request it will cite the appropriate law that allows it to withhold information regarding that record.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.