Brentwood Adopts Cost Recovery Plan for Audio and Visual Police Records


On Tuesday night, the Brentwood City Council adopted a Cost Allocation Plan and Schedule to include a fee aimed at recovering costs to extract confidential and exempt information from audio and video files on public records requests.

In a 5-0 vote, the Council agreed to bill the public at $213.05 per hour and if the city chooses an outside vendor, the public will be billed at the vendors rate—a 50% deposit must be paid.

According to police, extracting and producing electronic records subject to public disclosure will take three hours of City staff time to review and extract exempt material for every hour of video that includes audio, and two hours of staff time for every hour of for pure audio files. Requestors will only be billed for the actual staff time spent extracting electronic records, which will be billed in increments of .25 of an hour.

Police say the fee is established at a level which will recover the cost of providing the services and will have a nominal fiscal impact.

The move comes after Senate Bill 1421 went into effect January 1 Law provided the public greater access to electric police records which the Brentwood Police Department currently responding to Public Records Act requests—including body camera footage and electronic files.

Police may redact information for the following:

  1. To remove personal data or information (home address, telephone number, identities of family members, other than the names and work-related information of peace and custodial officers);
  2. To preserve the anonymity of complaints and/or witnesses;
  3. To protect confidential medical, financial, or other information which is prohibited by federal law or would cause unwarranted invasion of personal privacy that clearly outweighs the strong public interest in records about misconduct and serious use of force by peace officers; and
  4. Where there is a specific, articulable, and particularized reason to believe that disclosure of the record would pose a significant danger to the physical safety of the peace officer or other person.

Mayor Bob Taylor asked if the City of Brentwood was in line with other cities with this request. It was explained to the Mayor that both the City of Hayward and City of Richmond have moved forward with this.

Currently, the Brentwood Police Department has 1-case that falls under Senate Bill 1421 but there could be more cases in the future.

The council then voted 5-0 in favor of the cost recovery plan.

Here is a the staff report which includes the City of Hayward Case vs. National Lawyers Guild.


  1. This is garbage. A request at $213 per hour at an estimated 2-3 hours? Last time I was checked, a Brentwood Police officer makes around $100,000 a year. This is simply a way to prevent people from requesting audio and visual documents.

    • The cost is what it is… but the 2-3 hour estimate is spot on. Video & audio editing is time consuming.

  2. It’s a way of sticking it to the taxpayers for demanding transparency. It was only a matter of time, and I can’t say I blame them. I’d charge for my time too.

  3. No one on the City Council stopped to question the cost? $213 per hour is excessive in every way possible. Break that down further, that is $50 for every 15 minutes. I support our police departments, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. Its $50 every 15 minutes to prevent people from actually putting in a request. Sure the information is available but you are going to bed over and take it first. That doesn’t scream transparency in the least bit.

  4. You asked for the cameras without asking about the logistics, not their fault. I agree 100% with this.

  5. I think they should have an accessible data base and provide a code for access. This would be very inexpensive and provide transparency without ripping off the public. To serve and protect is starting to have another meaning.

    What happens if a poor person needs this info?

    You should also be able to view at no charge in the police headquarters.

  6. It’s very simple, someone has to physically download the video, unfortunate sit there and watch or listen to the video/audio. Then take the time to replay after they edited it. Then there is the reports and other records. Must read them and carefully go over every box to make sure protected information is not released. How would you like to have someone else, media or citizen, neighbor or bossy person, make this request and the audio and video was taken in your own house or your incident and you weren’t at your best, your kids were captured, your personal information is involved, how much would you pay to make sure the video, audio, or records were redacted properly and thoroughly? Or if you were a victim and some crooked attorney or other party makes their allowable request to just use it against you. It isn’t just about the officers, this is about also protecting the public from those who want to take advantage of this new law for the wrong reasons. PD’s are there to protect and serve, well this is doing just that!! The transparency is there, but protections for all also have to be there as well, plus there are privacy rights everyone of us have that just be protected as well so the departments don’t get sued by John Q Public for releasing protected records. Can’t have it both ways and unless you (citizen) want to give up all your rights and privacy as well!!

    How about the elected officials also be held to this transparency standard as well???? They have more protected privileges than anyone else!!

Comments are closed.