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Old 04-24-2008, 10:37 AM
Aussie Shooter Aussie Shooter is offline
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Default Simple story, but Police keep us all out.

Hi all,

In our local area we have been experiencing unusual amounts of rain resulting in road collapses. Last year in June, a family of 5 lost their lives when their car plummeted into a creek that had washed away a road.

Today after much rain, one of our local main roads was undermined with the tarmac hovering, waiting for collapse. It is in a very dangerous area of road under normal circumstances, negotiating down the side of a hill. This all happened at 3.30pm, so we were scrambling to get pics for the evening news.

Traffic was really bad this time of day so it took me a while to get there. About a 30 minute drive. When I arrived, the road was blocked about 500m before the location. The police officer asked me to park my car and walk the 500m(!) in the torrential rain to get my shots. Because I thought it would be a good yarn, I joined some other media and started the trek. I kitted up as well as I could and off I went with the others.

Just before the location, we were stopped by another policeman. He was not allowing us through. "But we just walked 500m in the rain to get here...why couldn't your other officer have told us we were not allowed in and save us the hassle?" I asked. He replied: "If I had known you were coming I would have told him not to allow you in".

The location of the washout was around a bend and up a hill from where we wee so we couldn't see it from the road block.

Anyway we waited 30 minutes in the rain under a tree before we concluded this was not going to make the news and we were doing nothing but wasting our time and ruining our gear. Time was against us, so was the fading Autumn light.

I just don't get it! This was a basic situation, we could have stood back plenty from the incident and got our shots and left in 5 minutes. We wouldn't have been in any danger.

I know this is probably a safety issue, but there were council workers up there running around inspecting the site...surely they could have liaised with us to a minor degree and told us where it was safe to stand...we wouldn't have needed to be closer than 20 metres!

Again, the local cops ruin what would have been a good news story.

I remember the day when the cops around here used to do their darndest to get us in so there could be some positive promotion of rescue workers and the Police themselves.

As an aside, a colleague of mine was kept out of the scene of a helicopter cliff rescue just this week. The cops made him wait for 10 minutes at the base of the hill so they could "check if it was safe for him to go in there". By the time he was allowed in, the action was over....but there were 20-30 members of the public in there already, watching all the action.

Figure that one out!

SOmetimes you are better off being a by-stander with a handycam!!!

Last edited by Aussie Shooter; 04-24-2008 at 11:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-22-2008, 11:48 AM
I DREW A PHOTOG I DREW A PHOTOG is offline
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So it's not just a U.S. thing..........sorry to hear that bro. Photogs at my station...Kstp in Minneapolis, Mn....have recently had a bunch of run ins with cops myself included. Not cool.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:54 PM
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We have the same problem down here in Missouri. Some of the districts are pretty nice to the media, others will try to keep you as far a way as possible in hopes you will just go away. They seem to think we want to stand right next to a dead body or something...I don't get it sometimes...
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Old 07-26-2008, 09:59 PM
Fearless Leader Fearless Leader is offline
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If I may play devil's advocate:

The police's job is to keep people safe. And in a rather unpredictable situation with road washouts and (potentially) other hazards that may mean that you don't get your shot. Complain to the cops all you want, they couldn't care less if you've got your shot.

We walk that line on an almost daily basis between getting the shot and getting hurt. Yeah- safety should be your top priority- but tell that to the boss when its tornado/hurricane/blizzard season. But when it comes down to the people who really deal with life and death on a daily basis(the people who move the bodies and inform next of kin and do all the dirty work), its another story.

Now, their lack of communication is frustrating and if they aren't communicating about the "little things" then maybe they need to work that out. Hopefully you have a couple contacts high up on the chain of command that could ensure further confusion like what you described doesn't happen. And if its a few cops that are being a problem, maybe that can be addressed too.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:38 PM
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A friendly photog reminder while picking your fights: roll on any confrontations. As we saw in Albuquerque, situations can get out of hand in the blink of an eye.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:31 AM
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Yes, always roll on those confrontations - or if you think there is a possibility of a confrontation. Remain professional, don't swear.

And remember, the camera and TAPE are the property of your station. Police have no right to confiscate it. You are well within your rights to tell an officer that if they want your tape, they'll need to go through LEGAL channels to get it as you are not authorized to release ANY material.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:40 PM
Terry E. Toller Terry E. Toller is offline
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I keep telling you guys, as long as the police get away with messing with you and violating your rights, they will keep doing it. AND, it will only get worse!

I have taken heat from some of you because I have sued over media access. It is exactly that attitude that gives the police and public officials the idea they can violate your rights. The more they do it, the more they like it.

Believe me, when the police find themselves before a court defending their actions, they realize just how wrong they were. It takes putting the cops on the hot seat to get them to change their ways.

of course, not all situations need to be followed up with a law suit. I had a situation in San Bernardino County where the sheriff blocked a road about a mile from a multi million dollar fire. they refused to 'allow' the media in. Here in CA we have a law that tells the police they have NO authority to keep us out. I crossed the line after the threat of arrest. I was cuffed and stuffed! after a few minutes the cop uncuffed me and actually gave me a ride into the fire. My reporter left in tears after I got arrested.

I didn't file a law suit. I wrote a letter and mentioned that I was considering legal action due to the offer's ILLEGAL activity.

A few years later I learned that the San Bernardino County Sheriff now teaches officers about 409.5 of the CA penal code and that the media has a right to cover a fire. The PIO told me the department realized that they could have been sued and would have lost.

Get tough with the cops! Stand up to them! Don't take it anymore!
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:46 AM
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Thats why we have a law in Ca even though some cops don't know it like Terry said, the law does give us that right...

Make sure you read the very last sentence

California Penal Code Section 409.5
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409.5. (a) Whenever a menace to the public health or safety is created by a calamity such as flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, accident, or other disaster, officers of the California Highway Patrol, California State Police Division, police departments, marshal's office or sheriff's office, any officer or employee of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated a peace officer by subdivision (h) of Section 830.2, any officer or employee of the Department of Parks and Recreation designated a peace officer by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, any officer or employee of the Department of Fish and Game designated a peace officer under subdivision (f) of Section 830.2, and any publicly employed full-time lifeguard or publicly employed full-time marine safety officer while acting in a supervisory position in the performance of his or her official duties, may close the area where the menace exists for the duration thereof by means of ropes, markers, or guards to any and all persons not authorized by the lifeguard or officer to enter or remain within the enclosed area. If the calamity creates an immediate menace to the public health, the local health officer may close the area where the menace exists pursuant to the conditions set forth in this section.

(b) Officers of the California Highway Patrol, California State Police Division, police departments, marshal's office or sheriff's office, officers of the Department of Fish and Game designated as peace officers by subdivision (f) of Section 830.2, or officers of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated as peace officers by subdivision (h) of Section 830.2 may close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post or any other command post activated for the purpose of abating any calamity enumerated in this section or any riot or other civil disturbance to any and all unauthorized persons pursuant to the conditions set forth in this section whether or not the field command post or other command post is located near to the actual calamity or riot or other civil disturbance.

(c) Any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) and who willfully remains within the area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section.


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California Penal Code Section 409.6


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409.6. (a) Whenever a menace to the public health or safety is created by an avalanche, officers of the California Highway Patrol, the California State Police Division, police departments, or sheriff' s offices, any officer or employee of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated a peace officer by subdivision (h) of Section 830.2, and any officer or employee of the Department of Parks and Recreation designated a peace officer by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, may close the area where the menace exists for the duration thereof by means of ropes, markers, or guards to any and all persons not authorized by that officer to enter or remain within the closed area. If an avalanche creates an immediate menace to the public health, the local health officer may close the area where the menace exists pursuant to the conditions which are set forth above in this section.
(b) Officers of the California Highway Patrol, California State Police, police departments, or sheriff's offices, or officers of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated as peace officers by subdivision (h) of Section 830.2, may close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post or any other command post activated for the purpose of abating hazardous conditions created by an avalanche to any and all unauthorized persons pursuant to the conditions which are set forth in this section whether or not that field command post or other command post is located near the avalanche.

(c) Any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) and who willfully remains within that area, or any unauthorized person who willfully remains within an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), after receiving notice to evacuate or leave from a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. If necessary, a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b) may use reasonable force to remove from the closed area any unauthorized person who willfully remains within that area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section.

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  #9  
Old 09-16-2008, 01:28 AM
jeremycohn jeremycohn is offline
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This is why I envy the shooters who are in the chopper! NO yellow tape!

Just yesterday we had a bit of a wind storm and I was shooting some hydro wires down, and the second I pulled on scene the cop told me to move my truck, and asked what I was doing there in the first place. It was too hard not to laugh out loud at his stupidity.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:37 PM
george121 george121 is offline
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I had this happen once back in the 80’s. I simply reminded the officer of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. That whenever a area was restricted by the government the court ruled the independent eye (Press Photographer) must be allowed in to ensure the truth is known. This was part of the Warren Commission ruling in 1964. The officer called his PIO then reminded me that if I crossed the line I was doing it at my own risk and could not hold the department liable.

You should also note the new DOT regulations give Press representatives access across the country to restricted area’s as long as we wear the vests and check in with command.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:44 PM
MrHasselblad MrHasselblad is offline
 
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I never really knew that it was possible to use the words truth and Warren Commision in the same paragraph.
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