The public records act says “(8) Photographs and month and year of birth in the personnel files of employees and workers of criminal justice agencies as defined in RCW 10.97.030. The news media, as defined in RCW 5.68.010(5), shall have access to the photographs and full date of birth. For the purposes of this subsection, news media does not include any person or organization of persons in the custody of a criminal justice agency as defined in RCW 10.97.030.” “(5) The term “news media” means: (a) Any newspaper, magazine or other periodical, book publisher, news agency, wire service, radio or television station or network, cable or satellite station or network, or audio or audiovisual production company, or any entity that is in the regular business of news gathering and disseminating news or information to the public by any means, including, but not limited to, print, broadcast, photographic, mechanical, internet, or electronic distribution; (b) Any person who is or has been an employee, agent, or independent contractor of any entity listed in (a) of this subsection, who is or has been engaged in bona fide news gathering for such entity, and who obtained or prepared the news or information that is sought while serving in that capacity; or (c) Any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the entities listed in (a) or (b) of this subsection to the extent that the subpoena or other compulsory process seeks news or information described in subsection (1) of this section.”

As news media I made the following request to the King County Sheriff’s Office on July 14: “This is a public records request for digital images of all patrol deputies working in KCSO’s Metro Transit division and all deputies assigned to Air Support. I do not want any elements of ID badges. Only thephotographs of the employees. Release of these images do notcontribute to a security risk because in order to access a buildingone must have a working RFID badge and/or convince someone to givethem access. One would not allow someone in with a badge of someone’selse’s photo. As I’m not requesting any part of the badge elements thereleased records could not be used to create a fake badge that someonewould believe is real and corresponds to person wearing it. Even ifthese deputies went undercover at some point the fact that they arephotographed and videoed on a regular basis because they are out in publicmeans in my opinion that the photos could not be withheld under the essential to lawenforcement exemption.I am the registered agent for Seattle Public Records which meets “anyentity that is in the regular business of news gathering anddisseminating news or information to the public by any means,including, but not limited to, print, broadcast, photographic,mechanical, internet, or electronic distribution;”https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_results.aspx?search_type=simple&criteria=all&name_type=starts_with&name=&ubi=604-015-621and it has two news stories up on its first official dayhttps://seattlepublicrecords.org/news/Dallas-PD-twitter-fiasco-could-happen-to-SPDand https://seattlepublicrecords.org/news/SPOG-disappears-from-the-internetas well as https://seattlepublicrecords.org/opinion/public-needs-to-flood-SPD-with-records-requestswhich publishes a record obtained from City Attorney’s Office. There are a total of 13 posts written in the four days that SPR has been officially registered as an entity. Each post contains news and/or information.These images will be used in news stories discussing the activities of KCSO inside the City of Seattle.”

KCSO’s denial was “We are denying your request for the following reasons:

First, as we are sure you know, several police officershave been murdered in multiple shootings across the nation very recently. The officers were murdered because they werepolice officers. Civilians near the officers or fleeing from sniper attackshave also been wounded and terrorized by bullets that were intended to hitofficers. The risk of imminent andserious violence against police officers remains extremely high as does thepossible injury or death of citizens that may be physically near the officerswhen the officers are attacked. Similarattacks were made against police officers in Lakewood and Seattle a few yearsago. While these officers were murdered while in uniform and on duty, we considerthe blanket release of our deputies’ photographs identifying them as lawenforcement to be a considerable and unnecessary safety risk to ourcommissioned personnel, and potentially their families, friends or people thedeputies may be near when targeted.

We are exempting these photographs as personalinformation and as essential to effective law enforcement to protect ourdeputies, their families, friends, and people nearby from harm, and to becausea blanket release of all photographs of our commissioned staff invades theofficer’s right to privacy. RCW 42.56.240(1) and RCW 42.56.230(3).

Second, blanket release of this information could alsopose an officer safety risk for plain clothed or undercover officers and areexempt under RCW 42.56.240(1), as essential to effective law enforcement.

Third, photographs maintained in files of employees whowork for criminal justice agencies are exempt from public inspection andcopying under RCW 42.56.250(8).”

My response:

“I appeal:

The Sheriff’s Office has not demonstrated that release of photographs of patrol deputies assigned to metro transit and deputies assigned to air support would lead to the harm of those employees. The deaths I’ve aware of such as the Baton Rouge shooting, Dallas Police shooting, Timothy Brenton shooting, and the Lakewood Shooting all occurred in public where officers were not IDed by photo but by their uniform/vehicle. Even after Baton Rogue shooting patrol deputies are still wearing their uniforms.

In a third party notification, Seattle Police cited Tardiff v. Washington State Patrol saying “Washington courts have found that the photos and birthdates of employees must be disclosed. The City unsuccessfully sued to block disclosure of the birthdates of all employees in 2006. A King County Superior Court judge awarded KIRO-TV $25,000 in penalties and attorney fees in that case. In another case, the Washington Court of Appeals found that King County Sheriff’s Deputies had no right to privacy in their full names. King County v. Sheehan, 114 Wn.App. 325, 346, 57 P.3d 307 (2002). Nor could King County withhold the list of Deputies’ names because the requestors in that case intended to post them on a website that was critical of the police. Id. In a recent trial court case, the King County Superior Court went further than Sheehan and ruled that release of the names and photographs of state troopers to the news media does not violate the troopers’ right to privacy. See Tardiff v. Wash. State Patrol, No. 10-2-42991-3 KNT, 2012 WL 2502856 (Wash. Super. May 14, 2012).”

I um unable to find that case online but here’s an appeals court discussion of the matter that predates the requirement that one be news media to access photographs of criminal justice employees. While this does not address the news media requirement it does address KCSO’s claim that these photographs are exempt because of privacy:

“But a passport-type identification photograph is not the type of sensitive, personal information that the PRA intended to exclude from disclosure. See Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe,* 90 Wash.2d 123, 136, 580 P.2d 246 (1978) <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D17020237863725009976&q=3Dpu= blic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48> (identifying examples of private information, including sexual relations, family quarrels, unpleasant or disgraceful or humiliating illnesses, or intimate, personal letters). As Parmelee points out, the information revealed by a *public* employee’s photograph on his or her government identification badge is decidedly *public*: it is information that the employee reveals to colleagues, friends, and strangers on a daily basis.[20= ] <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D11972099979177322120&q=3Dpu= blic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48#[20]> *SeeSheehan, 114 Wash.App. at 342, 57 P.3d 307 <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D440219699275980846&q=3Dpubl= ic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48> (holding that a public disclosure request for all officers in King County did not violate officers’ right to privacy because the information was already public). Moreover, it is an image that could be captured (but not necessarily disseminated) legally by any member of the public or the media while the employee is walking down the street. Sheehan, 114 Wash.App. at 342, 57 P.3d 307 <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D440219699275980846&q=3Dpubl= ic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48> .

=C2=B6 76 Perhaps more important, the PRA contains specific provisions list= ing what type of employment information is exempt from public disclosure, including employment applications, resumes, employees’ residential addresses and telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, social security numbers, and emergency contact information. Seeformer RCW 42.56.250 (2006). The legislature did not include identification badge photographs in this list. See **Wash. State Republican Party v. Wash. State Pub. Disclosure Comm’n,= 141 Wash.2d 245, 280, 4 P.3d 808 (2000) <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D6809352877470986004&q=3Dpub= lic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48> (refusing 956 <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D11972099979177322120&q=3Dpu= blic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48#p956> 956 <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D11972099979177322120&q=3Dpu= blic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48#p956> to read an implied exemption into the PRA because “[w]here a statute specifically lists the things upon which it operates, there is a presumption that the legislating body intended all omissions”). Generally, disclosure of a *passport-type identification photograph is not highly offensive to a reasonable person and, as a result, we do not reach the second element of the privacy analysis: whether disclosure of the DOC employees’ photographs is a legitimate public concern. RCW 42.56.050.” My request is for patrol deputies in Metro Transit and all deputies in air support unit. This rules out deputies actively engaged in undercover work. = “In this context, “intelligence” may be defined as “the gathering or distribution of information, especially secret information,” or “information about an enemy” or “the evaluated conclusions drawn from such information.” Random House Unabridged Dictionary 990 (1993). With the possible exception of the names of police officers who are actively engaged in undercover operations at the time of a request for disclosure, it is difficult to see how a list of police officers’ names could fall under these definitions.” - Sheehan, <https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3D440219699275980846&q=3Dpubl= ic+records+passport+like+photos&hl=3Den&as_sdt=3D4,48>

The sheriff’s office allowed filming of deputies, see https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=3Dking+county+sheriff . I requested the photographs of air support for example. Well here’s a 2013 county made air support video showing air support deputies without sunglasses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DhSsIutJ1I_o Here’s video by th= e West Seattle Blog of an air support member giving a talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dyi3UQj5Yc9U Here’s two transit officers giving a talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D0RmudOC0wtc

Sheriff’s Deputies wear uniforms identifying themselves as law enforcement. There is a legitimate interest in news media such as myself having photographs associated with names to be able to identify which deputies appear in a video in order to do further investigation into the activities of those deputies.

The courts have said that release of the criminal justice employee passport like photos does not violate their privacy as privacy is defined by the PRA. The legislature intended for the news media such as myself to have access to the photos.

In RCW 42.56.250(8) it states:

“Photographs and month and year of birth in the personnel files of employees and workers of criminal justice agencies as defined in RCW 10.97.030 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=3D10.97.030. The ne= ws media, as defined in RCW 5.68.010 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=3D5.68.010(5), shall have access to the photographs and full date of birth. For the purposes of this subsection, news media does not include any person or organization of persons in the custody of a criminal justice agency as defined in RCW 10.97.030 http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=3D10.97.030.”

In 10.97.030 it states:

“(5) The term “news media” means: (a) Any newspaper, magazine or other periodical, book publisher, news agency, wire service, radio or television station or network, cable or satellite station or network, or audio or audiovisual production company, or any entity that is in the regular business of news gathering and disseminating news or information to the public by any means, including, but not limited to, print, broadcast, photographic, mechanical, internet, or electronic distribution; (b) Any person who is or has been an employee, agent, or independent contractor of any entity listed in (a) of this subsection, who is or has been engaged in bona fide news gathering for such entity, and who obtained or prepared the news or information that is sought while serving in that capacity; or (c) Any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the entities listed in (a) or (b) of this subsection to the extent that the subpoena or other compulsory process seeks news or information described in subsection (1) of this section.”

I am requesting the photographs as c of 10.97.030. I am an agent of Seattle Public Records, an entity “that is in the regular business of news gathering and disseminating news or information to the public by any means”, and am engaged in bona fide news gathering for the entity.”

Update: My appeal was denied.

” Subject: Public Disclosure Request Reference# P008880-071416

Dear Tim,

Thank you, again, for your inquiry. We have thoroughly reviewed your appeal request and truly appreciate your time, effort and documentation provided.

However, our decision remains a denial of the records you are seeking as stated in our July 22, 2016 communication.

Sincerely,

JOHN URQUHART, King County Sheriff

Kimberly Petty Public Disclosure Program Manager Sheriff’s Administration”