Department of State Police

 

About VSP – Web Policy

 

Accessibility Policy

 

Through its Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is promoting a high degree of Web access for people with disabilities.  In coordination with organizations around the world, WAI is pursuing Web accessibility through five primary areas of work:  technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach and research and development.  To help support the WAI, DCJS is complying with W3C guidelines for Web accessibility. 

 

Document Accessibility Notice:

 

Hard copy documents are available for those unable to access or view the downloadable files on this website.  Simply contact VSP by e-mail at questions@vsp.virginia.gov, by FAX at 804-674-8531 or by mail at:

 

Department of State Police

Attn:  Public Relations Office

Post Office Box 27472

Richmond, VA 23261-7472

 

The plug-ins used are:

 

·         Adobe Reader

·         Apple QuickTime

·         Java JRE

·         Microsoft Excel Viewer

·         Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer

·         Microsoft Word Viewer

·         Macromedia Flash Player

·         Windows Media Player

 

Disclaimer

 

The Virginia Department of State Police (VSP) provides links to many websites that are not controlled, maintained or regulated by VSP or any organization affiliated with VSP, and as such, VSP is not responsible for the content of those websites.  Use of information obtained from those websites is voluntary, and reliance on that information should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy.  Reference at those websites to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by VSP.

 

Linking Policy

 

This website may contain hypertext links to external websites and pages containing information created and maintained by public and private organizations other than the Virginia Department of State Police (VSP).  These hypertext links may be created by VSP if it determines that establishing the external link will be consistent with assisting or furthering the purpose of this web portal, which is to significantly and diligently promote public service to citizens and businesses by:

 

·         Expanding business and citizen access to government services and government information;

·         Offering an easy and convenient process for these groups to conduct transactions with State government online;

·         Accelerating the development and delivery of an increased volume of quality online government service;

·         Improving the level of customer service from State government;

·         Extending electronic government services to citizens of city and county government.

 

In addition, hypertext links may be created by VSP for informational purposes where the linked external website will provide useful and valuable information to visitors to this website, or where the linked external website is required or authorized by law.

 

VSP, in its sole discretion, will determine whether the external website meets the purpose of this website or for the specified informational purposes.  The inclusion of a hypertext link to an external website is not intended as an endorsement of any product or service offered or referenced on the linked website, the organizations sponsoring said website, or any views that might be expressed or referenced in the website. 

 

Hypertext links to external websites and pages may be removed or replaced at the sole discretion of VSP at anytime without notice. 

 

In the event you discover problems with or have concerns regarding the format, accuracy, timeliness or completeness of a linked external website, please contact the organization responsible for the linked external websites, pages or content. 

 

Hypertext links MAY open in a new browser window.  If so, a link identification tag will warn the user and will look similar to this example:

 

Graphic example of a link identification tag

Privacy Policy

 

The following represents practices and procedures of the Virginia Department of State Police (VSP).  VSP reserves the right to change these practices and procedures at anytime without prior notice.  The following is not intended and should not be interpreted as a contract of any nature, either stated or implied. 

 

Individuals who visit the VSP website are important to us.  Because visitors to our website are important, the Department does not capture personal information about them without their permission.  The Department endeavors to ensure that it collects only the minimum amount of information needed to meet the purpose for which the network was created. 

 

VSP may be required to collect personal information, such as a user’s name and address, because of legal requirements or in order to provide customer services.  In doing so the Department is subject to the requirements for administering information systems as established in the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act, Chapter 38 of Title 2.2 of the Code of Virginia.  Pages that appear after you click on a link may be controlled by a different agency or entity whose practices are not under VSP control. 

 

The Department does collect personal information directly from individuals who volunteer to subscribe to one or more of VSP’s online services.  Collecting personal information is necessary in order for VSP to deliver the services requested. 

 

Fostering and maintaining the public’s trust is important to VSP.  The Department appreciates the trust and confidence that you place in it by providing requested personal information. 

 

Use, Collection & Retention of Customer Information

 

For each visitor, the Department collects information about the Internet Protocol (IP) address, type of browser used, the date and time of the visit and the IP addresses of the locations to which the visitor linked during his or her visit to our website.  This information is strictly used for statistical reporting purposes. 

 

The Department collects, retains and uses personal information about its customers, other than mentioned above, only when they volunteer to subscribe to a VSP online service.  The Department only collects, retains and uses personal information where it believes it is essential (and allowed by law) to administer our business and to provide products, services and other opportunities requested by its customers.

 

Use of Cookies

 

“Cookies” are small files either stored on a server or sent back to a visiting computer.  In certain applications user information is stored as “cookies” of the type that are then sent back and stored on the user’s computer.  This information is handled in the same way as other user information obtained by VSP.  No user information is gathered through cookies except for that needed to run the specific application. 

Restrictions on the Disclosure of Customer Information

 

The Department does not sell or rent our subscribers’ information to any outside company or organization.  The Department does not reveal specific information about subscribers or other personally identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except if required to do so by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act or other law. 

 

Protection of Information Via Established Security Procedures

 

The Department maintains security standards and procedures regarding unauthorized access to customer information to prevent unauthorized removal or alteration of data. 

 

Maintenance of Accurate Information

 

The Department has established procedures to ensure that information is as accurate and current as is practical to enable it to conduct business with you.  Although the Department strives to do things right the first time, it also responds to requests to correct inaccurate information in a timely manner. 

 

Limiting Employee Access to Information

 

The Department’s webmaster is instructed to limit employee access to personally identifiable information to only those employees who need access in order to perform their assigned duties.  The webmaster is instructed to enforce with its staff their responsibilities in protecting subscriber’s information. 

 

Privacy Issues Relating to the Federal Chile Privacy Act

 

The Federal Child Privacy Act regulates a website’s collection of personal information on users under 18 years of age.  Except for registrations of specific events for children, the Department does not intentionally collect such information on anyone it knows to be under 18 years of age.  If such information is inadvertently obtained, the minor’s parent or legal guardian may contact VSP for a description of the specific types of personal information collected from the child and the options available to them under law to ensure their child’s safety. 

 

P3P

 

The Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, is emerging as an industry standard providing a simple, automated way for users to gain more control over the use of personal information on websites they visit.  At its most basic level, P3Pis a standardized set of multiple-choice questions, covering all the major aspects of a website’s privacy policies.  Taken together they present a clear snapshot of how a site handles personal information about its users.  P3P-enabled websites make this information available in a standard, machine-readable format.  P3P-enabled browsers can “read” this snapshot automatically and compare it to the consumer’s own set of privacy preferences.  P3P enhances user control by putting privacy policies where users can find them, in a form users can understand, and most importantly, enables users to act on what they see.  The VSP website is P3P compliant. 

 

Changes

 

VSP reserves the right to change this privacy policy as necessary. 

 

Contact VSP

 

The Department welcomes your comments and invites you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at:

 

Virginia Department of State Police

7700 Midlothian Turnpike

Post Office Box 27472

Richmond, VA 23261-7472
 

Or

 

E-mail us (questions@vsp.virginia.gov)

 

 


Virginia Department of State Police

 

About VSP – FOIA Requests

 

 

Rights & Responsibilities

 

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials and public employees.

 

A public record is any writing or recording regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business.  All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific exemption or other law applies to those records.

 

The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental acitivities.  In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly. 

 

Your FOIA Rights

 

  • You have the right to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.

 

  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.

 

  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA.

 

Making a Request for Records from the Virginia Department of State Police

 

  • You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person or over the phone.  FOIA does not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.

 

    • From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to put your request in writing.  This allows you to create a record of your request.  It also gives us a clear statement of what records you are requesting, so there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request.  However, the Department cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect not to put it in writing.

 

  • Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.”  This is a common-sense standard.  It does not refer to or limit the volume or number of records that you are requesting; instead it requires that you be specific enough so that the Department can identify and locate the records that you are seeking. 

 

  • Your request must ask for records or documents.  FOIA gives you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the Department.

 

  • You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by the Department in the regular course of business. 

 

    • For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk or to receive a printed copy of those records. 

 

  • If the Department has questions about your request, please cooperate with the staff’s efforts to clarify the type of records that you are seeking, or to attempt to reach a reasonable agreement about a response to a large request.  Making a FOIA request is not an adversarial process, but the Department may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that it understands what records you are seeking. 

 

VSP Requests

 

To request records from the Department of State Police, you may direct your requests to:

 

Public Affairs Unit

Virginia Department of State Police

Post Office Box 27472

Richmond, VA 23261-7472

804-674-2016

 

You may also contact the above persons with questions you have concerning requesting records from the Department of State Police.  In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA.  The Council may be contacted by e-mail at foiacouncil@leg.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-225-3056 or (toll free) 1-866-448-4100. 

 

VSP’s Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request

 

  • VSP must respond to your request within five working days of receiving it.  “Day One” is considered the day after your request is received.  The five-day period does not include weekends or holidays. 

 

  • The reason behind your request for public records from VSP is irrelevant, and the Department cannot ask why you want the records before it responds to your request.  However, by stating the reason for your request, you may facilitate the staff’s ability to identify and access the full range of records that you seek, especially when you are not sure exactly which records may be helpful to you.  FOIA does allow VSP to ask you to provide your name and legal address. 

 

  • FOIA requires that VSP make one of the following responses to you request within the five-day time period:

 

    1. Provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety.

 

    1. Withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption.  If all of the records are being withheld, the Department must send you a response in writing.  That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows the Department to withhold the records.

 

    1. Provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records.  The Department cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption.  In that instance, the Department may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record.  The Department must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows a portion of the requested records to be withheld. 

 

    1. If it is practically impossible for VSP to respond to your request within the five-day period, the Department must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible.  This will allow the Department seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving it a total of 12 working days to respond. 

 

  • If you make a request for a very large number of records, and the Department feels that it cannot provide the records to you within 12 days without disrupting other organizational responsibilities, we may petition the court for additional time to respond to your request.  However, FOIA requires that we make a reasonable effort to reach an agreement with you concerning the production of the records before it goes to court to ask for more time. 

 

Costs

 

  • You may have to pay for the records that you request from VSP.  FOIA allows an agency to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests.  This would include items like staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records.  It cannot include general overhead costs. 

 

  • If the Department estimates that it will cost more than $200 to respond to your request, it may require you to pay a deposit before proceeding with your request. 

 

  • You may request that the Department estimate in advance the charges for supplying the records that you have requested.  This will allow you to know about any costs upfront, or give you the opportunity to modify your request in an attempt to lower the estimated costs. 

 

  • If you owe the Department money from a previous FOIA request that has remained unpaid for more than 30 days, the Virginia Department of State Police may require payment of the past-due bill before it will respond to your new FOIA request. 

 

Commonly Used Exemptions

 

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure.  The Department commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

 

  • Records requested by persons incarcerated in a state, local or federal correctional facility (§ 2.2-3703(C))

 

  • Personnel records (§ 2.2-3705.1 (1))

 

  • Records subject to attorney-client privilege (§ 2.2-3705.1 (2)) or attorney work product (§ 2.2-3705.1 (3))

 

  • Tests or examinations used, administered or prepared for purposes of evaluation of any employee or employment seeker’s qualifications or aptitude for employment, retention, or promotion, or qualifications for any license or certificate (§ 2.2-3705.1 (4))

 

  • Vendor proprietary information (§ 2.2-3705.1 (6))

 

  • Records relating to the negotiation and award of a contract, prior to a contract being awarded (§ 2.2-3705.1 (12))

 

  • Plans and information to prevent or respond to terrorist activity, the disclosure of which would jeopardize the safety of any person (§ 2.2-3705.2 (4))

 

  • Complaints, memoranda, correspondence and evidence relating to a criminal investigation or prosecution, other than criminal incident information (§ 2.2-3706 (F) (1))

  

The following frequently requested records are governed by the following statutes:

 

  • Active criminal investigations are governed by the restrictions set forth under § 52-8.3.

 

  • Criminal history records are governed by the restrictions set forth under § 19.2-389.

 

  • Accident reports and information regarding accidents are governed by § 46.2-379 and § 46.2-380.

 

  • Sex Offender Registry information is governed by §§ 9.1-900 et seq.

 

  • Criminal intelligence files, Title 28 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 23

 

  • The Federal Freedom of Information Act only applies to federal agencies and not to the Department or other state agencies.