New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) provides procedures for the public (the “requestor”) to review or copy government records. The following is a summary of these procedures and guidelines for requesting records.
OPRA applies to requests for records, not requests for isolated facts therefore, a requestor must determine which records he or she wishes to see or copy.
The requestor must then file a records request with the Custodian of Records. This is accomplished by completing a form available at the sheriff’s office. For your convenience, we have also made the form available below.
Fees (payable by cash, check or money order):
Letter size pages: $0.05 per page
Legal size pages: $0.07 per page
Other materials (CD, DVD, etc.): actual cost
You may be required to provide a deposit against costs for reproducing documents when a request for copies exceeds $25.00. The custodian will contact you and advise you of any deposit requirements.
Some government records are not available for public inspection or copying. A list of the two dozen specific types of records that are exempt from disclosure may be viewed at the state’s OPRA web site.
Under OPRA, a custodian must deny access to a person who has been convicted of an indictable offense in the United States, and who is seeking government records containing personal information pertaining to the person’s victim or the victim’s family.
You may be denied access to a government record if your request would substantially disrupt operations and the custodian is unable to reach a reasonable solution with you.
If the sheriff’s office is unable to comply with your request for access to a government record, the custodian will indicate the reasons for denial on the request form or other written correspondence and send you a signed and dated copy.
To view and complete the form, you will need the freely available Adobe Reader software installed on your computer, version 7 or higher. This fillable form may be filled out on your computer and saved to your hard drive and/or printed out.
The completed form must be returned to:
Undersheriff Matthew Avenatti, Custodian of Records
Sussex County Sheriff’s Office
39 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860