Public Records Request

To ensure transparency and accountability, the City seeks to make the process of obtaining public records as easy as possible. The City complies with the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). 

The City of Vancouver defines a public record as any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.

Make a public records request

Police department records

Vancouver Police reports and others are available directly from the Police Records Unit.

Public records availability

Anyone may make a request for records online, mail, fax, in person or verbally. The Public Records Officer or designee is responsible for memorializing all verbal requests.  

City-held public records include

  • City department or program email, paper, and electronic files
  • Committee/commission/board or staff email, paper, and electronic files
  • Official City records such as ordinances, resolutions, and staff reports
  • City Council meeting agendas and minutes
  • Vancouver Municipal Code 
  • Other related documents that have been acted upon by the Vancouver City Council

Public records are available for inspection and access subject to the following conditions:

  • Review of records for applicable legal exemptions and confidentiality requirements. 
  • Dated request includes name, address, and contact information of requestor. 
  • Description of public records adequate to locate the records. 
  • Inspection and copying occurs on city premises during normal business hours. 
  • Public records may not be removed, disassembled, or altered. 
  • We do not disclose lists of individuals for commercial purposes. 
  • In accordance with RCW 42.56.070(9) 
  • For large requests, copies may be provided in installments. 
  • For large reproduction requests, an outside vendor may be used, and requestor will need to pay the vendor directly for costs. 

Reproduction costs

The City of Vancouver charges for copies and mailings. We follow the unified fee schedule:

  • Black and white copies (per side): $0.15
  • Color copies (8 ½” x 11”): $0.52 (actual costs)
  • Mailings: actual cost of postage
  • Other media: actual cost of production

The City of Vancouver may require a deposit of up to 10 percent for the estimated costs of copying all the records selected by the requester and may require full payment before providing the records.

We do not charge for retrieval or inspection of public records.

Response to records request

Within five business days of receipt of the request, the Public Records Officer or designee will do one of the following:

  • Make the records available for inspection or copying.
  • Send copies to the requestor if payment has been received or waived.
  • Provide a reasonable timeline of when the records will be available.
  • Contact the requestor to request clarification.
  • Deny the request citing a reason for denial.

If a requestor does not receive a response within five days, he or she should contact the Public Records Officer to determine the reason for the delay.

The City provides space to inspect records. Records are made available by appointment.

Public records contacts

Any person wishing to request access to public records of the City of Vancouver or seeking assistance in making such a request should contact the public records officer or any of the public records staff:

  • Raelyn McJilton, Public Records Officer
  • Matt Oftedahl, Records Specialist
  • Karen Stauber, Records Supervisor

Contact us at 360-487-8480 or

Police records contact

Contact Police Records at 360-487-7598 or

Additional resources