Bid to uncover harassment on state highways stonewalled

print
Commissioner Bill Gibbons swearing in 45 troopers June 18. (Photo Department of Safety on Facebook)

Commissioner Bill Gibbons takes part in swearing in 45 troopers June 18 in Nashville in front of the War Memorial Auditorium. (Photo Department of Safety on Facebook)

Since June I have been requesting information about the state’s highway and travel control apparatus and apparent irregular treatment of certain users of the public roadways. Realizing I’m being stonewalled, I today fire off another letter — this time to Commissioner Bill Gibbons, head of the department of safety and homeland security — requesting access to records touching on Hamilton and two other counties. An awaited state response has taken 10 times longer than allowed under state law. The letter went Monday first class to his office, with a copy to a staff attorney Lizbeth Hale, at 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave. in Nashville. — DJT

Dear Mr. Gibbons,

Pursuant to my open records request of June 26, 2015, I request a response from your department to my demand for access to files pertaining to all driver licenses in three counties that were issued apart from the application of the user of the roads, and which might have been suspended by administrative action apart from any particular infraction.

You have seven business days in which to respond, and it is 69 days since I filed my request — that’s nearly 1,000 percent longer than allowed by TCA 10-7-503.

Your department has had plenty of time to gather an undoubtedly tiny trove of files pertaining to this request. You are required to assemble this material and make it available to me. At the least, you are to make it available to me for review. At best you are to make it available to me by CD-rom or other digital recording device and send it by first-class mail.

My request is clear enough, and my filing controls the scope of my request and its substance. The request was amended in letters dated July 20 and Aug. 14 to include data from altogether three counties — Hamilton, Knox and Jefferson.

I ask for information on the policies, procedures and practices of the department for the issuance of licenses to people who did not apply for said license by physical or digital means. You state in a letter July 6, “All persons requesting a Tennessee driver license, whether in person, by mail, by internet, or at a kiosk, are required to fill out an application and sign it in person or by electronic means.”

Yes. But is there one Tennessee resident who had a driver license issued to him apart from this process? If so, there exists documentation covering this program, even if it covered a single person. You rightly understand my inquiry, being general, to include issuance of all such licenses in these three counties.

The second part of my inquiry requests all data, policies, protocols, correspondence pertaining to suspension of such licenses. If at least one such license was issued apart from the motorist’s application and signature, data exists to show department actors shepherding such a license to the status of valid — and finally to the status of suspended, for one cause or another.

The only correspondence I’ve received from you is a query letter July 6 from staff attorney Lizbeth Hale.

Your good faith cooperation with this records request would be most appreciated. Respectfully, etc.

Leave a Reply