© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Volker Seeks Huge Increase in Fee for Police Accident Reports

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – State Senator Dale Volker is proposing a huge increase in fees police agencies charge for accident reports.

Right now, it costs anyone seeking a police report 25-cents for a xeroxed copy. But under a bill proposed by Senator Volker, that fee would be increased to $10.

The Depew Republican says the bill targets insurance companies and their attorneys, which he said shouldn't be getting cheap copies at taxpayers' expense. But Diane Kennedy of the New York Newspapers Publishers' Association says the higher fees would also affect reporters.

"Well, it would be much more expensive for a reporter to compile a story," Kennedy said. "Say a reporter is writing a story about a five car accident, she might have to pay $50 just to write the story."

Kennedy said that would be cost prohibitive to most small newspapers in the state.

Volker, who was involved in budget conference committee meetings Tuesday, was not available for comment. Kennedy said she touched based briefly with Volker about his bill and received assurances that he would exempt the media and accident victims from the higher fees.

But Kennedy said that could create further legal questions.

"I think he's going to have a real challenge to craft it in such a way that it only applies to certain people," Kennedy said. "The Freedom of Information law says that anyone coming in to get a document from a government agency is entitled to it for just the cost of copying the document."

Kennedy said she was told by Volker that he's angered by reports he's heard that lawyers buy an accident report from the 25-cent copying fee but then charge their clients $10 or $20 for it. But without a sponsor in the Assembly, she said it's unlikely the bill will become law this year.