The National Freedom of Information Coalition is partnering with Uncovered: A Cold Case Platform, an interactive one-stop-shop cold case database that visualizes missing and murdered case information.
Co-founders Ashlee Fujawa and Rachel Rosslet created Uncovered to bring together technology, data and the public, in an effort to have a collective impact for the families of those murdered or missing.
“We’re excited to work with NFOIC to connect citizen detectives, digital volunteers, and citizen solvers crowdsourcing information on the more than 200,000 unsolved cold cases, with access to experts, content, and resources for purpose-driven online research,” Fujawa said. “The need to access public information has never been greater, and we’re thrilled to find a partner in NFOIC as dedicated to uncovering answers as we are.”
According to Uncovered, more than 200,000 cases have gone cold since 1980. Equity of resources and attention paid to cases depends on the characteristics of the victim. In 1965, the murder clearance rate was 91%. By 2017, it had dropped to 62%.
Uncovered’s data-driven platform provides citizens with access to hundreds of cold case overviews from those involved, timelines, and relevant locations via Google Maps. The organization also created a space for community engagement, offering anyone the ability to join the conversation. People can submit cases they believe need more attention and research. Uncovered believes in citizen detective work and offers a free Citizen Detective Guide, which helps individuals learn about how information is perceived, requested and collected.
This April, NFOIC will present the “Public Records Bootcamp” in partnership with Uncovered. The three-part webinar series will empower citizen solvers, digital volunteers, and citizen detectives, teaching them strategy and the importance of accessing public records in online research.
NFOIC will lead participants through a multi-part training with a focus on finding records, crafting requests, and options for combating roadblocks. Each webinar will cover how to secure relevant files, videos, pictures, coroner’s report, police reports, and other documents via a FOIA request. Also covered: who you should contact, how to request public records, and what happens if you get denied. All sessions will be recorded, and registration is free. Please see the schedule below and feel free to join in support of this new endeavor.
WHERE TO START: HOW TO FIND PUBLIC RECORDS
Best practices for locating information, where to start, how to search, and what to look for in the process.
April 15, 2021 | 7PM – 8PM EST
MAKING THE CASE: CRAFTING THE PERFECT REQUEST FOR PUBLIC RECORDS
Familiarize yourself with the process for making a FOIA request from crafting effective request letters to platforms that make the process easier.
April 22, 2021 | 7PM – 8PM EST
TROUBLESHOOTING FOIA REQUESTS: DENIALS, APPEALS AND NEXT STEPS
April 29, 2021 | 7PM – 8PM EST