Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The Freedom of Information Act establishes a citizen's legal right to access government records and information upon request. Citizens may submit requests for City of Lansing public records under FOIA by making a request, in writing, with the appropriate FOIA Coordinator. The Office of the City Attorney follows certain guidelines when responding to FOIA requests.
Submitting a FOIA Request
You must submit all requests for records under FOIA in writing. Police department records, such as police reports and traffic accident reports, are handled by the Lansing Police Department. FOIA requests for LPD records should be sent to:
LPD FOIA Coordinator
Lansing Police Department
120 W Michigan Avenue.
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.
Requests for all other types of records are handled by the Office of the City Attorney. FOIA requests for non-police department records should be sent to:
Office of the City Attorney
124 W Michigan Avenue.
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 Office of the City Attorney at 517-483-4081.
FOIA Request Checklist
If you would like to submit a FOIA request, please review the following FOIA checklist to ensure a speedy and accurate response to your request.
- Make sure you are addressing the correspondence to the correct person/department.
- Make sure the correspondence is addressed to the Freedom of Information Act Administrator or Coordinator.
- Advise the administrator that you are requesting documents pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, and refer to the Act as MCL 15.231 et seq.
- Describe the record(s) requested in detail so that it can be located.
- Describe the subject matter of the documents requested, and, if possible, the date the documents were created.
The FOIA statue allows the City 5 working days 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. Please note that not all documents are freely available under the FOIA statute; certain documents are not available to the public.
Costs of FOIA Responses
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. The costs of locating and reproducing documents will vary depending on the type and number of documents requested. If the charge is expected to exceed $50, the City will notify you by letter before proceeding to fill your request. Charges for time spent on FOIA responses are based on the pay rate of the lowest paid capable FOIA responder.
Under certain circumstances, those who are indigent may request that fees for FOIA responses be waived. If you feel the FOIA fee should be waived for your request, please note that you must request this in writing at the time the FOIA request is submitted, and be prepared to provide proof of your indigent status before you receive any documents.