1. Call for Service (CFS) – A call for service is the initial report generated by the dispatch center when either an Emergency or Non-Emergency call is made for law enforcement, fire, medical or other public safety reasons. CFS numbers are created sequentially by date, so for example CFS number 051110-120 would be the 120th call for service on May 11, 2010. A call for service will contain the date and time of an incident, the officers involved, and a brief description of the incident.
Call for Service reports are disseminated by Support Services as our releasable public record information according to state law, and are available free of charge. Confidential personal and private information such as driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, phone numbers, etc. are redacted from the report. All juvenile information, including the name, will be redacted. All medical information will be redacted in compliance with federal HIPAA requirements.
2. Case Reports – A case report contains the full police report(s) written by the officer or officers who worked on a given incident. Depending upon the incident, there may or may not be a case report filed; in many cases, there may only be a call for service record. Case reports are filed by agency and start with a letter designation, such as HP100914 (a Helena Police Case) or LC100914 (a Lewis & Clark County Sheriff case).
Case reports and any supplemental information filed by an officer in a case are generally considered “confidential criminal justice information”, as defined in state law, and may not be released to the public, except under certain circumstances. If you require a copy of a case report, you should contact the following:
- For reports filed by the Helena Police Department within the City of Helena: Helena City Attorney's Office at (406) 457-8595; or
- For reports filed by the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s Office, for incidents occurring elsewhere in Lewis & Clark County: Lewis & Clark County Attorney’s Office at (406) 447-8221.
3. Crash Reports – Crash reports are filed by the Helena Police for vehicle crashes within the City of Helena. For crashes occurring outside the city limits, or investigated by another agency, contact the Montana Highway Patrol at (406) 444-3278.
Crash reports may only be disseminated to the person(s) listed on the report written by the assigned police officer, including property owners, insurance companies, vehicle drivers, vehicle owners, etc. Reports can be picked up in person at the Law Enforcement Center, or by mail. There is a fee to obtain a copy of a crash report. If requested through the mail, the following must be included in the request:
- a copy of their driver’s license
- a self addressed, stamped envelope
- a check made out to the Helena Police department for $5.00
If insurance agencies or attorneys request crash reports, and are not listed as an involved party on the report, they may also obtain copies of accident reports. Requests must be accompanied by an authorization to release form or assignment of rights, signed by the party involved. Request must be submitted on company letterhead, to ensure identity.
The Support Services Records Division WILL NOT fax call for service or crash reports records due to the uncertainty of the recipient’s fax, and due to the costs involved in doing so.