Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rights and Responsibilities

How to request records from the Department

  • When requesting records from the Department, NextRequest is the preferred and most efficient way to make that request for information.
  • 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 we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
  • Your request must ask for existing 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, nor does it require the Department to create a record that does not exist.
  • 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 email or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records
  • If we have questions about your request, please cooperate with 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 we may need to discuss your request with you to ensure that we understand what records you are seeking.
  • You may request records from the Department by U.S. mail, fax, email, in person, or over the phone. From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. This allows you to create a record of your request.
Make a FOIA request online
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The NextRequest online portal will help you communicate with the Virginia State Police about what documents you need.

Note: FOIA requests for Accident/Crash Reports must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your FOIA Rights

Our Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request

Costs

FOIA Request Contact

If you are not using the online request tool, please use the following contact information to submit your request.

FOIA Officer: Lieutenant David L. Ostwinkle
Telephone: (804) 674-2642
Fax: (804) 674-2345
Email: FOIA@vsp.virginia.gov

Common Exemptions to FOIA Requests

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:

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

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

Additional Resource for Questions

The Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by email at foiacouncil@dls.virginia.gov, or by phone at (804) 698-1810 or (866) 448-4100.