Access to Public Records Act

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Access to Public Records Act


The Access to Public Records Act ("APRA") governs the process to obtain access to public records from the City.  To request public records, you must complete and submit the City of South Bend Public Records (APRA) Request online form.
Requests can be made at www.southbendin.gov/apra.  



Who is eligible to submit an APRA request?

All persons are eligible to submit an APRA request.  A "person" includes individuals as well as corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, associations, and governmental entities.


How long will it take for my request to be processed?

If you submitted your request in person, you will receive an acknowledgment from the City within twenty-four (24) hours of the City receiving your request.  If you submitted your request by regular mail, e-mail, or fax, you will receive an acknowledgment from the City within seven (7) days of the City receiving your request. After June 1, 2024 only electronic submissions using the City's online form will be accepted.

Indiana law requires only an acknowledgment and not the actual production of records within this specified time period.  The City is allowed a "reasonable" amount of time to actually produce all disclosable records to you.  All requests will be given our immediate attention; however, the length of time it will take to produce records is dependent upon the nature, volume, and scope of your request.  Requesting audio or video files may significantly delay receipt of disclosable records depending on the length of the files and number of items to be reviewed.  Such files may also be subject to additional fees.


What types of records may I request under APRA?

To be required to be accessible, a document must be a "public record" of the City. The APRA defines a public record as ". . . any writing, paper, report, study, map, photograph, book, card, tape recording, or other material that is created, received, retained, maintained, or filed by or with a public agency and which is generated on paper, paper substitutes, photographic media, chemically based media, magnetic or machine readable media, electronically stored data, or any other material, regardless of form or characteristics."  I.C. § 5-14-3-2.

A request for records must identify with reasonable particularity the record being requested.  It should be noted that not every request for records can be granted.  The stated policy of the APRA and its broad definition of public records make most records accessible to the public; however, the APRA specifically excludes certain types of records from disclosure. These exceptions can be found in I.C. § 5-14-3-4.

It is also important to understand that in order for a public record request to be granted, the information requested must actually exist.  The APRA does not cover future records, nor is it a means to obtain answers to questions.  The City is not obligated to create a public record to answer your inquiry.


Where do I find the form to fill out an APRA request?

The Public Records request online form is available on the City of South Bend's website at southbendin.gov/apra). 

To go to the Public Records request online form , click here. 


What is the cost to submit an APRA request?

Submitting a request for public records is free; however, production of certain records may incur a fee.  These fees are set forth in 2-210 of the South Bend Municipal Code.  To go to the Municipal Code, click here.  


311 Process Notes

311 should direct callers to the City website to complete the APRA online form located under the Legal Department webpage. Callers can also directly access the form at southbendin.gov/apra.

If they are having difficulty with the online form , direct them to call our main line (574-235-9241) or email us at apra@southbendin.gov.