Skip to Content


Todd Oetkin/Burlington Police Department - Dismissal Order

The Iowa Public Information Board

In re the Matter of:

Todd Oetken, Complainant

And Concerning:

Burlington Police Department, Respondent


                      Case Number: 20FC:0088


                              Dismissal Order



COMES NOW, Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Dismissal Order.

On August 28, 2020, Todd Oetken filed formal complaint 20FC:0088, alleging that the Burlington Police Department (Department) violated Iowa Code chapter 22.

Mr. Oetken alleged that “about a month ago” he made his “fourth attempt” to obtain “a copy of a letter delivered and read to me by Officer Adam Schaefer….”  He stated that the letter had been “hand delivered to me a few years prior by Officer Schaefer, but was lost when my lock box was stolen from my home.”  He indicated that “over three months has passed since this letter was initially requested.”

Officer Schaefer responded to the complaint, stating that he does not have a copy of this or any other letters delivered to Mr. Oetken.  He explained that a letter was drafted by the city attorney, and the Department was tasked with hand-delivering the letter.  He contacted the City and obtained a copy of a letter dated April 27, 2017, for Mr. Oetken, which he provided on or about August 28, 2020.

Mr. Oetken sent an email to Officer Schaefer on August 28, 2020, which he copied to the IPIB.  He stated that this is not the letter he wants.  

On August 31, 2020, IPIB staff suggested to Mr. Oetken that he contact City Hall for copies of letters sent or delivered to him.

This is not a viable complaint for two reasons:  (1) The record request was not made to the lawful custodian of the record as defined by Iowa Code section 22.1(2), and (2) The alleged violation occurred more than 60 days ago, beyond the jurisdictional limitation set forth in Iowa Code section 23.7(1).

Iowa Code section 23.8(1) requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and could have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint.  This complaint does not meet those requirements.


IT IS SO ORDERED:  Formal complaint 20FC:0088 is dismissed as legally insufficient and as beyond the jurisdiction of the IPIB pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b). 


Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may “delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.”  The IPIB will review this Order on September 17, 2020.  Pursuant to IPIB rule 497-2.1(4), the parties will be notified in writing of its decision.


By the IPIB Executive Director



Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.

1.  After Officer Schaefer responded to the complaint, Holly Corkery notified the IPIB that future responses, if needed, would be provided by her as legal counsel for the Department.



This document was sent by electronic mail on the ___ day of September, 2020, to:


Todd Oetken

Holly Corkery, legal counsel for the Burlington Police Department


Printed from the website on May 18, 2021 at 12:35pm.