Public Records Disclosure
The Public Records Act RCW 42.56 requires that identifiable public records be made available promptly to members of the public for inspection and copying upon request. The Public Records Act is a strong mandate for public disclosure and its exemptions should be narrowly construed.
To make a request for public records regarding Emergency Management or other agency-specific records:
To request records under the Public Records Act, provide a detailed description of the requested records (subject, dates, location, etc., if possible) and your contact information (email address, mailing address, phone number) to the Public Records Officer at:
Military Department Public Records Officer
Camp Murray, WA 98430
Phone: (253) 512-8110
FAX: (253) 512-8497
Email: WA Military Department Public Records Officer
You may use the optional linked Public Records Request Form (PDF) to request records.
To make a request for public records regarding National Guard service and discharge records:
Please see the linked Contact Us page for contact information to direct the following types of requests:
- Requests for Washington National Guard service records under the Privacy Act.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs service verification and record requests.
- Employment verification requests.
- Requests under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
How long will it take to receive a response to my request?
Once the agency has received a public records request, we will respond within five (5) business days. This response could include the requested records if immediately available. If not, the response will:
- Acknowledge the request and, if necessary, ask for clarification to ensure WAMIL gets the requester the information they are looking for;
- Give a reasonable estimate of how long it will take for us to provide the record; or
- Deny the request and cite the legal reason for the denial.
What records may not be releasable for a public records request?
Only records that are exempt by law may be withheld from disclosure. Allowable exemptions are detailed in the Public Records Act and in other statutes. To the extent possible, WAMIL will redact (black out) information exempt from disclosure instead of withholding records entirely.
Some of the exemptions listed in RCW 42.56 that may apply to requests for disclosure of Military Department records include, but are not limited to:
- Personal information in files maintained for employees and appointees of public agencies to the extent disclosure would violate their right to privacy (i.e., disclosure would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and is not of legitimate concern to the public). RCW 42.56.230(3).
- Employment test questions and scoring keys, public employment applications and resumes, employee residential and emergency contact information and social security numbers. RCW 42.56.250.
- Certain real estate appraisals. RCW 42.56.260.
- Valuable formulae, designs, drawings, computer source code or object code and research data obtained by the agency within five years of the request for disclosure when disclosure would produce private gain and public loss. RCW 42.56.270(1).
- Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations and intra-agency memorandums in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended. RCW 42.56.280.
- Records relevant to a controversy to which the agency is a party but which would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery, such as attorney work product records. RCW 42.56.290.
- Certain information assembled, prepared, or maintained to prevent, mitigate, or respond to criminal terrorist acts, the public disclosure of which would have a substantial likelihood of threatening public safety, consisting of (a) Specific and unique vulnerability assessments or specific and unique response or deployment plans, including compiled underlying data collected in preparation of or essential to the assessments, or to the response or deployment plans; and (b) Records not subject to public disclosure under federal law that are shared by federal or international agencies, and information prepared from national security briefings provided to state or local government officials related to domestic preparedness for acts of terrorism; RCW 42.56.420(1).
- Certain information regarding the infrastructure and security of computer and telecommunications networks. RCW 42.56.420(4).
RCW 42.56.070(1) recognizes that public records may also be exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act pursuant to an “other statute which exempts or prohibits the disclosure of specific information or records.” Some of those “other statute[s]” which may apply to exempt or prohibit disclosure of Military Department records include but are not limited to:
- The attorney-client privilege statute, which exempts records reflecting communications transmitted in confidence between agency staff and the agency’s Assistant Attorney(s) General for the purpose of obtaining or rendering legal advice. RCW 5.60.060(2)(a).
- The Uniform Trade Secrets Act. RCW 19.108.
- The Uniform Health Care Information Act. RCW 70.02.
- Protected critical infrastructure information under the federal Critical Infrastructure Information Act of 2002 (part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub.L. 107-296), 6 CFR Part 29.
- Student privacy rights. 34 CFR Part 99
What are the costs?
Copy fees may be charged according to WAC 323-10-070.
If you have questions about public records disclosure:
Please contact the WA Military Department Public Records Officer or by phone (253) 512-8110 or fax (253) 512-8497.