Arlington Now Posting FOIA Responses Online

Published on June 01, 2016

  • Responses to Freedom of Information Act queries available
  • Exemption for police documents related to specific crimes
  • FOIA requests now made simpler
  • Part of County's Open Government initiative

Starting now, Arlington County will post responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests online. This action is part of County Manager Mark Schwartz's Open Government initiative to promote openness and transparency.

"My overarching goal is to increase government transparency," said Schwartz. "This is one simple way that we can share information that we have already collected … which already has some interest from the community."

Making a FOIA request

Earlier this year, the County made it even easier to submit a FOIA request, by providing an online form. People can now make an online request, or use the paper form.

Viewing FOIA responses

Arlington will post responses — with a few exceptions — on the FOIA Center. Go to and search "FOIA." Posted FOIA responses are limited to Arlington County government documents compiled in response to a FOIA request.

Standard FOIA exemptions apply. The County does not post protected health information of residents, personnel records, proprietary business information or other such documents that are exempt from FOIA. The individual FOIA requests are not posted, as they often contain personal identifying information of residents. This is an administrative policy intended to protect the requestors' privacy. Police records containing personal identifying information and 911 phone call transcripts will likewise not be posted online.

In accordance with General Schedule GS-19, responses are retained for three years.

Arlington complies with all requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act which guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials and public employees.