The Office of Unified Communications (OUC) is the custodian of records relating to 911, 311, and the District’s radio system. If there is active litigation, you must serve a valid subpoena on the OUC in order to obtain records. If there is no active litigation, you must file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Please refer to OUC’s FOIA page.
When a 911 call is initiated in the District of Columbia, the following records may be created:
- Audio recording of the 911 call to the District’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) once connected with a 911 call taker
- Event Chronology in OUC’s Computer Aided-Dispatch (CAD) system
When an event is determined by OUC to require police, fire, or medical emergency response from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) or the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Agency (FEMS), an audio recording of the dispatching over the radio system is created. Dispatching occurs on the main MPD and FEMS radio channels. Non-dispatching MPD and FEMS radio usage occur on other radio channels.
The retention period for 911-related records is three (3) years.
When a citizen calls 311 to request city services, the following records may be created:
- Audio recording of the 311 calls to the Office of Unified Communications once connected to a call taker
- Service request history in OUC’s Salesforce system
The retention period for audio recordings of 311 calls is ninety (90) days. The retention period for service request histories is five (5) years.
Non-public Safety Radio Records
When any District independent or dependent agency utilizes the City-wide radio system, an audio recording of that communication is created. The retention period for audio recordings of non-public safety radio communications is three (3) years.
Drafting a Subpoena for OUC Records
OUC’s response to a subpoena that requests “all records for a 911 call” or for “all 911 records related” to police, fire, or medical emergency event will include only audio recordings of 911 calls and the Event Chronology. The best information to assist OUC in locating a 911 call is listed below. The name of the 911 caller is the least probative type of information as 911 callers often decline to provide their names.
- Citizen Complaint Number (CCN) for police incidents
- Date of the call
- Time range the call was placed
- Location of service
- Phone number from which the 911 call was placed
- Incident type
Subpoenas requesting records related to a 911 call will not include MPD and FEMS radio communications as these are related to the dispatching of responders, not the receipt and processing of a 911 call. If you are seeking audio recordings of radio dispatch for a police, fire, or medical emergency event, you must specifically make that request in the subpoena. Additionally, OUC’s response to a subpoena that requests radio communications related to a 911 call or police, fire, or emergency medical response will include only the main MPD or FEMS radio channel. If you are seeking MPD or FEMS radio communications on other channels, you must specifically make that request in the subpoena, identifying the particular channel(s) requested. Finally, please note that OUC must liaise with MPD and FEMS before releasing recordings of their radio communications, which lengthens the time of OUC’s response.
OUC’s response to a subpoena that requests “calls for service” at a particular location will include an Event Search Summary for the specified date range requested that lists each time 911 was called and the emergency responders that were dispatched. This Event Search Summary contains only identifying information, such as the date, time, district (1D, 2D, 3D, etc.), location, event number, and incident type code, but does not contain the detailed information that appears on the Event Chronology for a particular incident.
If you need to obtain a police report, please refer to MPD’s Arrest and Criminal History page.
Serving a Subpoena on OUC
Service of process for a subpoena relating to OUC records may be accomplished either through:
- In-person service upon the OUC General Counsel at 2720 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, Monday through Friday during the hours of 10 am through 5 pm.; or
- Electronic service via [email protected]
If you serve a subpoena on OUC via electronic service, an email confirmation of receipt will be sent to you. If you do not receive an email confirmation within two (2) business days, please contact the OUC General Counsel at (202) 730-0531.
Foreign subpoenas that have not been domesticated in the District of Columbia will not be accepted for service.
Do not fax or mail subpoenas.
Authenticating OUC Records
OUC will provide a certificate of authentication for admission of OUC records as business records in court if specifically requested in the subpoena. OUC requests that parties seeking to utilize OUC records in litigation obtain the opposing party’s stipulation as to authenticity based on this certification. If the authenticity of OUC records can only be established through testimony in a particular matter, a separate subpoena for a custodian of records must be served. OUC requests that attorneys needing an OUC custodian of records work with the agency to place OUC witnesses on on-call status. The designated custodian can appear in DC Superior Court with one hour’s advance notice.