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Kansas Open Records Act

A Citizen's Guide to Open Records at Sedgwick County

Download the Citizen's Guide to Open Records brochure.

The Kansas Open Records Act guarantees any person the right to inspect and obtain copies of all public records – unless the records are closed consistent with specific provisions of law.

Within three business days a County agency must either …

  • Provide requested records;

  • Inform the requester when and how they will be provided, or

  • State why the records cannot be provided.

What are your open records rights?

If you ask, any County agency will describe its “open records request procedure.” If you want to learn more about the Kansas Open Records Act (KSA 45-215 et seq.), learn which agency may have records you seek, or if you have difficulty obtaining records from any County agency, contact the County’s Freedom of Information Officer (FIO). If you feel an agency has wrongfully denied you access to records, you may ask the FIO to help resolve the dispute. For more about your rights as a requester, please see information on the Kansas Attorney General’s web site at http://ag.ks.gov/legal-services/open-govt.

What County records are available?

The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) requires agencies to provide records that already exist. KORA does not require creating new records, compiling special research or statistical reports, or interpreting records.
Frequently requested records are listed below. Many County records are available online at www.sedgwickcounty.org. Normal business hours for all County offices are 8:00AM – 5:00PM, Mon-Fri.

Appraiser’s Office
4035 E. Harry 316-660-9250

County Clerk
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main #211 316-660-9222

County Treasurer
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main #107 316-660-9110

Finance Division
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main #823 316-660-7591

Geographic Information Services (GIS)
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main #212 316-660-9290

Human Resources
Historic Courthouse
510 N. Main #306 316-660-7050

  • Salaries of officials and employees
  • Personnel policies and procedures
  • Compensation plans

Public Works
Sedgwick County Public Works Building
1144 S. Seneca 316-383-7901

Register of Deeds
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main #415 316-660-9400

Sheriff
Adult Local Detention Facility
141 W. Elm 316-660-3900

How about non-County records?

Citizens often look to County government first for records that other units of government must provide. In fact, the FIO refers fewer than 40% of requesters to County agencies – most requests are for either State Vital Statistics or State District Court records. District Court, other State agencies, and all cities, school districts and other local governments are responsible for their own records. These other agencies have their own FIOs to help requesters.

District Court – 18th Judicial District
District Court Administration
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main 11th Floor 316-660-5800
Call Center: 316-660-5900
WEB: www.dc18.org
EMAIL: micro@dc18.org

  • Case files and some transcripts
  • Marriage certificates and divorce decrees
  • Certain records are not available: Adoption records, expunged criminal records, and many child-in-need-of-care and juvenile records are among those closed by law.

Kansas Department of Health & Environment / Office of Vital Statistics
Curtis State Office Building
1000 SW Jackson Suite 120
Topeka, KS 66612-2221
785-296-1400 FAX 785-296-8075
EMAIL: Vital.Records@kdhe.state.ks.us
WEB: www.kdheks.gov/vital/

  • Birth certificates (since 07/01/1911)
  • Death certificates (since 07/01/1911)
  • Marriage certificates (since 05/01/1913)
  • Divorce certificates (since 07/01/1951)

What records are “closed”?

Various provisions of State and Federal law require that certain public records, or portions, remain “closed.” Closed records either may not be disclosed at all, must have portions removed, or may be disclosed only to persons who demonstrate a legal right to access. Many closed records contain private information about individuals. KORA (KSA 45-221) lists about 50 categories of records that may be closed, including:

  • Criminal investigation records.
  • Medical treatment records of individuals.
  • Personnel records of County employees.
  • Correspondence with individual citizens.
  • Social Security numbers, account numbers and other private information.
  • Records protected by attorney-client privilege and/or by rules of evidence.
  • Competitive purchasing process records, prior to acceptance of bid or proposal.
  • Notes and preliminary drafts.

Criminal history record information

In general, County agencies cannot provide criminal history record information (CHRI) to the public. County employees who provide CHRI in violation of law may be terminated and prosecuted. Records of adult convictions and trials within Sedgwick County are available from District Court.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) is the central CHRI repository for Kansas, and regulates dissemination to criminal justice agencies and all others. To the extent law allows, KBI provides CHRI to persons about themselves, to employers and to others. For further information contact the KBI.

Kansas Bureau of Investigation
Attn: Adult Records
1620 SW Tyler
Topeka, KS 66612-1837
785-296-8200
EMAIL: records@kbi.state.ks.us
WEB: www.accesskansas.org/kbi/

How do you request records?

  1. Prepare your request. It may help to check with the agency to find out if the record you want is available, and what information it needs in a request. You should describe what you want in specific terms, including a date range. If you don’t know which agency has the record(s) you seek, ask the Freedom of Information Officer.

  2. Submit your request. Simple requests for a few current records often can be handled by telephone or in person while you wait. Normal business hours for County offices are 8:00AM-5:00PM, Mon-Fri.
    For more complex requests and for restricted records, the agency may require a written request. Describe what you want as specifically as you can. The agency may provide a form for mutual convenience, but agencies cannot require that written requests be submitted on their forms.

    KORA allows an agency to ask your name and address. For restricted records, an agency may require proof of identity or other information sufficient to determine your right under law to access the records.

  3. Agency responds. For most routine requests, agencies will produce records within three business days. Some records will require more time – within three business days agencies must tell you when and how they plan to provide access and/or copies.

    Your request may be denied, in whole or in part. If the agency denies, it must specify the records denied, and cite legal basis for denial. Any denial will be made upon advice of legal counsel. The agency should respond within three business days.

Will you need to pay fees?

KORA allows agencies to recover “actual costs” to provide access or copies. Reviewing and making notes from records available in departments’ offices usually require lesser fees. Responses that involve retrievals from commercial storage, computer resources, copies, substantial staff time to locate records and similar costs usually require fees. Each department sets fees within general guidelines. Fees are payable in advance.

Why wouldn’t you get records?

County agencies will try to provide records you request. However, agencies sometimes cannot provide records:

  • The records may be another agency’s responsibility — the agency should refer you to the other agency or to the FIO.

  • Records were not created, or cannot be found.

  • The record was destroyed in the normal course of business, consistent with law.

  • Your request was unclear or incomplete – please resubmit with needed detail.

  • The record is closed to protect an important privacy or other interest authorized by KORA (see KSA 45-221) — the agency will explain and cite specific legal provisions.

Don’t know which agency to ask?
Have questions about open records?

If you don’t know which agency to ask, the Freedom of Information Officer (FIO) can help. If you have concerns about your request, the County’s compliance with KORA, or KORA in general, the FIO can help.

Use the web site inquiry form. Browse to the inquiry form on the County Web site at www.sedgwickcounty.org. Fill in blanks, and click to send. Providing your email address would speed response.

Email the FIO. If you email the FIO, please include your name and mailing address, and describe the records you seek as specifically as you can. Your telephone number can be helpful, but cannot be required. Please email the FIO at kora-fio@sedgwick.gov.

Call, fax or mail the FIO. You do not need Internet access to request records. Call the Open Records Information Line: 316-660-9840. The FIO or another staffer is usually available during business hours. If you leave a voicemail, please speak slowly and distinctly. Providing your name and mailing address, or your telephone number would allow contacting you. Please repeat contact information.

Fax your inquiry to 316-941-5105, or send by mail to the address below.

Whatever means you use, you should receive an acknowledgement, answer or referral within three business days. If you do not, please resend or call.

The Freedom of Information Officer for Sedgwick County Government is …

Douglas King, Records Manager
DIO/IT – Records Management Services
Courthouse Records Center
525 N. Main (Basement Mezzanine)
Wichita, KS 67203-3782
VOICE 316-660-9840 FAX 316-941-5105
EMAIL: kora-fio@sedgwick.gov
WEB: www.sedgwickcounty.org

Sedgwick County is committed to making our programs and services accessible to persons with disabilities. People with disabilities requiring accommodations to access open records may contact 660-9840 for assistance.

DIO/IT – RMS / KORA Info Brochure 2013-12-05.Docx / 12/11/2013