The Open Public Records Act became effective on July 7, 2002. It amended the prior Right to Know Law. Under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), members of the public may have access to public records held by Atlantic County.
INFORMATION ON OPRA
The underlying purpose of OPRA is to provide that government records, with certain exceptions, be available for public inspection and copying. Not all records are disclosable under OPRA. Exceptions to public accessibility are based on such principles as: a reasonable expectation of privacy by citizens regarding records in the possession of a public agency; public safety concerns; and the need to foster unrestrained discussion and consideration of issues inside public agencies.
The State of New Jersey established the Government Records Council to assist in disseminating information about OPRA. For more information on your right to obtain records under OPRA go to their web site at http://www.nj.gov/grc . You may also contact them by phone at their toll free information line: 866-850-0511. Their mailing address is:
Government Records Council
P. O. Box 819, Trenton, NJ 08625-0819
INFORMAL REQUESTS FOR COUNTY RECORDS
Routine requests for documents may still be made informally, directly to the holder of the record you are seeking. However, informal requests are not governed by OPRA. If the holder of the record you are seeking believes that a formal request would be more appropriate, they may request that you file an Atlantic County Sheriff's Office Request for Government Records Form with the Custodian of Records for the Atlantic County Sheriffs Office.
REQUESTS UNDER OPRA FOR COUNTY RECORDS
You may also direct your initial request to the Custodian of Records by using the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office Request for Government Records form available for download in the black box titled OPRA Form. In order for the request to be covered by the Open Public Records Act, the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office Request for Government Records Form must be submitted to the Custodian in person, by mail, or by FAX at 609-909-7292. The form is also available from the Custodian at:
Atlantic County Sheriff's Office
4997 Unami Blvd
Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Please be specific when requesting documents. If you know which County office has the records you want, please include that information. Also, indicate a date or time frame for the documents you want. Provide any information that would assist the Custodian in determining what specific documents you are seeking.
OTHER COUNTY AGENCIES
Some county agencies have their own Custodian of Records. They are: The County Law Department, the County Prosecutor, the County Clerk, the Board of Elections, the Superintendent of Elections, the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Taxation, Atlantic Cape Community College, the Atlantic County Improvement Authority and the Atlantic County Utilities Authority. The County Surrogate is subject to the Court rules on disclosure. Contact these entities directly for their records.