Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thom Lauer's Police Credentials

The Texas Office of the Attorney General (TxOAG) forwarded a copy of our complaint filed against the Gun Barrel City Police Department dated February 6. Wilmer Public Citizen filed the open records request for information on Gun Barrel City Reserve Officer (and Wilmer City Administrator) Thom Lauer on January 4, 2008.

We have been trying to ascertain what credentials Wilmer City Administrator Thom Lauer actually holds as a law enforcement officer. In November, 2007 we requested this information from the Seven Points Police Department and our open records request was ignored. Upon calling Seven Points PD, we spoke to the new Police Chief (starting January 1, 2008) about our past request. He was unaware of any outstanding open records requests during the tenure of his predecessor, who retired December 31. We were however informed that Thom Lauer's commission had been transferred to the Gun Barrel City Police Department.

Wilmer Public Citizen telephoned the Gun Barrel City Police Department asking for fax information so that we could forward our request on January 4, 2008. To date, we have received no acknowledgement of our request and referred the matter to the Texas Attorney General Public Information Hotline on January 26. We received a telephone call from Clair Sloan of the OAG Open Records Complaint Division on January 29 requesting additional information on our contact with the Gun Barrel City Police Department.

Subsequently, we received a copy of our complaint from the OAG dated February 6, 2008 in which the OAG requested a response of intended action from the Gun Barrel City Police Department. Three options were presented: comply with the open records request, advise no such records exist, request a ruling from the OAG regarding compliance. As of this date, the OAG had received no reply from the Gun Barrel City Police Department. We were advised that Gun Barel City is seeking an opinion from the Texas Municipal League regarding our open records request before responding to the OAG.

We have to question the economics of seeking legal advise on responding to an open records request on an unpaid Reserve Officer.

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