The following notice will explain how the Washington County Sheriff's Office releases information. This includes not only to whom it is released, but what information will be released.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is modifying the procedure regarding the review and release of open records requests based upon advice from legal counsel. In compliance with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Senne v. Village of Palatine, 695F3d597 (7th Circuit, 2012), and the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”), 18 U.S.C. §2721 et.seq., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is no longer releasing personal information under the DPPA unless it falls under a permissible use. Personal information obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles, including an individual’s date of birth, drivers license number, social security number, home address, telephone number, photograph and medical or disability information is prohibited from disclosure unless one of the permissible uses applies. Permissible uses are listed in 18 U.S.C. 2721 (b). The Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide records, as required and allowed, in accordance with Wisconsin State Statutes that are not in conflict with DPPA. Any records that are denied is subject to review by mandamus under §19.37(1), Wis Stats., or upon application to the Attorney General or a district attorney.
Records Requests for Accidents:
Reportable accidents that the Sheriff’s Office investigates can be obtained in un-redacted form from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website at the following link:
www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/traffic/accident.htm There is a $6.00 fee for getting a copy of the accident report from DOT. You will receive the accident report along with an invoice from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. There may be a delay from the time the accident occurred to when it is available through DOT.
Accidents are considered reportable when any of the following criteria are met:
Non-reportable accidents are not sent to DOT and can only be obtained through the Sheriff’s Office.
Accidents are considered non-reportable when all of the following criteria are met:
The Sheriff’s Office can also provide copies of both reportable and non-reportable accidents, but they will be released following DPPA guidelines. These guidelines strictly limit the Sheriff’s Office from releasing information derived from DOT records unless the requestor falls under one of the permissible uses. This form will be required for the release of accident reports. The Permissible Use form, and the consent forms, can be personally obtained at the Sheriff’s Office during normal business hours or directly downloaded from the following link: Permissible form link
Written consent: Part of the Permissible Use disclosure may include obtaining written consent of individuals involved in the incident. Keep in mind the consent for other party (Form 1B), needs to be signed by the other individual(s) before release. There are two forms of written DPPA consent:
Other Open Records Requests:
Any record in possession of the Washington County Sheriff's Office which contains personal identifiable information that was either obtained or confirmed through DOT records is also subject to disclosure restrictions under DPPA. These records will be redacted unless the requester falls under one of the permissible uses (see Permissible form link and consent links above). Due to the redaction process, it is beneficial for the requester to contact the Sheriff's Office and speak with the Records Assistant prior to personally stopping at our office to determine if the record is available and if DPPA redaction is necessary.