Preparing and filing written reports represent part of the daily routine of members of police departments and law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including Los Angeles. Whenever a police officer in Los Angeles responds to a call for assistance or to investigate accidents, criminal activity or engages in other interaction with the public, reports are made and filed with the agency for which the officer works. Because it is both a city and a county, Los Angeles police records are available to several police agencies. Many of the Los Angeles police record files are public record such as; arrests, DUIs, traffic citations, criminal history, jail records, incarcerations and more.
The California Public Records Act of 1968 opened many types of records, including Los Angeles Police records, to the public. Concerns over privacy issues if all records were to be available to the public were addressed by allowing law enforcement agencies to limit certain records specifically exempted by the statute, including records containing the following information:
• Identity of juveniles or crime victims
• Identity of police informants
• Results from police investigations that could jeopardize an ongoing case
• Internal notes or memos
• Records of litigation pending against the municipality or police agency
• Personnel records
Los Angeles police records available to the public through a records search include reports police investigations into criminal activities. If an arrest is made, an arrest report is created containing details about the person arrested and the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Incident reports contain summaries of police interaction with the general public. A police incident report would be created when an officer responds to a request for assistance at the scene of an accident or to aid the victim of a crime. Incident reports would also be created when an officer observes criminal activity and takes appropriate action to stop it and apprehend the individual engaging in it.
If the results of a police investigation point to a particular person as being responsible for the commission of a crime, police might obtain an arrest warrant from a judge authorizing them to take the individual into custody. Because arrest warrants contain sensitive investigation information, they might not always be available to the public, but arrest logs could be available.
An arrest log is prepared at the time of an individual’s arrested and contains name, address, age, description and other identifying information of the person taken into custody. Depending upon the circumstances surrounding the arrest of an individual, some information in an arrest log might be withheld from the public if it would jeopardize the investigation or prosecution of the case.
The challenge for anyone seeking Los Angeles police records is identifying the law enforcement agency at which the record is stored. Los Angeles is a city, but it is also a county covering more than 4,000 square miles and is home to a quarter of the population of California. There are numerous state, county and local police agencies operating in Los Angeles County, including the Los Angeles Police Department with jurisdiction within the city of Los Angeles.
State law enforcement agencies enforcing the laws and maintaining records in Los Angeles include some of the following below.
• California Highway Patrol
• California Office of the State Fire Marshal
• Bureau of Investigation of the California Department of Justice
• California Department of Fish and Wildlife
• California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
More than 10,000 deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department patrol the county and generate documents, reports and records related to enforcement and patrol activities carried out by its officers.
Los Angeles police records are also maintained by the many local law enforcement agencies throughout the county. They include city police departments in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach and many other cities throughout the county. In addition to city departments, there are several specialized law enforcement agencies, including police departments on campuses of the University of California, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles Port Police, Los Angeles Park Rangers and the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.
The method of searching for a Los Angeles police record can vary from one police agency to another, so the best thing to do is to check with the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the incident or information contained in the record. For example, if you need a copy of an accident report for a collision that occurred in the city of Los Angeles, your first stop should be the Los Angeles Police Department. Records are available through an application that can be submitted in person or through the mail. Keep in mind that records pertaining to the city of Los Angeles might require a search at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department because its deputies have jurisdiction along with the Los Angeles Police Department to make arrests and conduct investigations, including accident investigations, within the city.
If you are searching for a copy of your own criminal record, you need to know the law enforcement agency that handled the arrest. A criminal record from an arrest made by the Los Angeles Police Department is available by applying to the LAPD in person at its administration building or through the mail. You could also conduct your own search using an online service.