LEWISTON — Victims of crimes in the city should be able to get copies of police reports free of charge, councilors agreed Tuesday.

Councilors discussed waiving printing and research fees for victims of crimes during their workshop meeting Tuesday night.

“When we have someone who has been a victim of a crime — their house has been burglarized, their car has been broken into or someone has thrown something at their house — they have already been victimized enough,” said police Chief Michael Bussiere. “Right now, the way the city fee schedule is, our employees don’t really have the discretion to do anything about that.”

The city currently charges for all document requests. In the case of a criminal report, it costs a $15 research fee plus $2.75 per page.

Bussiere said the average charge for criminal reports is $21.

He said the city sees an estimated $19,000 in revenue each year from printing reports.

Victims may need those reports to file insurance claims, he said.

“A lot of times, the companies are just asking for that report to make sure a police report has been actually made and the person is not filing a false claim,” Bussiere said.

Bussiere said the city could waive all or part of the document fee for crime victims. Waiving the entire fee would cost about $4,000 per year. Capping the charge at $10 for crime victims would cost about $3,000, and capping it at $5 would cost about $2,000.

Councilors said that waiving the fee sounded fair. They will vote on changing the city’s fee schedule at their next regular meeting. Police Department staff would still be able to decide whether the fee should be waived.

Bussiere said it wouldn’t change the way accident reports are handled. 

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.