Media Ride-Along Guidelines
Public Disclosure of Crime & Arrest Reports
Facts & Circumstances of the Arrest
Media Access at an Incident/Crime Scene
of Radio Calls
Access at a Disaster Scenes
for LASD Personnel
for LASD Personnel
guide is intended to assist the media in obtaining timely news information
from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, while providing
both the media and Department personnel with a basic outline of releasable
This is only a reference guide and it is not intended to cover every
possible situation pertaining to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department policy on the release of information. It includes basic
information regarding media deployment at incident / crime scenes.
Station captains and station watch commanders may provide information
to the media regarding incidents which have occurred within their
station's area of jurisdiction. Yet, any information regarding investigations
conducted by specialized units such as Homicide Bureau, Arson/Explosives
Detail, Family Crimes Bureau, etc., will require the specialized unit's
approval and in the majority of cases, subsequent release through
Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
Specific requests regarding any information about the Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department's policies, procedures, history, statistical
data, areas of jurisdiction and / or expertise, press conference information,
or press passes, must be referred to Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau
at (323) 526-5541.
In order to prevent liability against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department and its personnel, deputies are responsible for ensuring
that media and/ or camera crews participating in ride-along abide
by the following list of guidelines:
1. Media and/
or camera crews that are accompanying Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department personnel are prohibited from accompanying deputies into
areas that are not accessible to the public; specifically, areas
wherein officers gain access due to their authority as peace officers;
including, but not limit- ed to, homes, backyards, ambulances, or
any area where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
2. Any authorization
from a person being taped, or to enter a non-public area, is solely
an agreement between said person and the media and/ or a camera
crew. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel shall not
be involved in obtaining any such form of consent.
shall conduct only tasks directly related to his/her normal law
enforcement duties, and shall not grant media and / or camera crews
any special treatment or access that exceeds what any other person
is entitled to, during the course of a public ride-along.
shall not allow media and / or camera crews to disrupt the normal
course of his/her law enforcement duties, and shall terminate the
ride- along immediately upon any such disruption.
5. All media
and/ or camera crews attending public ride-alongs shall have prior
consent from Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau. All media and/ or camera
crews must sign the civilian ride-along form, assuming risk of injury
or damage, waiver and release of claims.
The Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department does not allow media and/or camera crews
in any areas not accessible to the public without prior consent
from the person whose reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
There is no exception to this rule.
of Crime & Arrest Reports:
The following information will be provided upon request according
to Government Code Section 6254(f), unless the information would
endanger the successful completion of an investigation or a related
investigation or would endanger the safety of a person involved
in an incident:
full name (Note: Names of juvenile suspects shall not be released)
- Area of resident
- Physical description
- Date and time of arrest
- Location of arrest
- Factual circumstances
- Location held
- Amount of bail
- All charges including warrants
- Parole or probation holds
Information Facts & Circumstances of the Arrest:
- Date, time
and location of arrest
- Resistance by the suspect(s)
- Use of weapons by suspect(s)
- Use of force by officer(s)
- Identity of arresting / investigating officer(s)
- Limited description of evidence
- The nature, substance, and text of charge
- Any request for assistance from the public
Access at an Incident/Crime Scene:
Incident/Crime Scene and Command Post Areas may be closed to the media.
Under most circumstances, the incident/crime scene and resulting command
post area will initially be closed to the media. The purpose of any
such constraint will be to protect the integrity of the investigations
and to ensure a safe, coordinated and unrestricted response by law
enforcement and other emergency personnel.
Constraints to media access to incident / crime scenes are subject
to review by incident commanders and Department executives. They should
be lifted whenever, and as soon as, the situation warrants.
media is denied access to an incident/crime scene, Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Department personnel shall:
- Provide a "Media Area" with maximum access possible
under the circumstances
- Assign a P.I.O. to provide timely and updated information to
- Consider "Pool" access, (1 TV camera, 1TV reporter,
1 print reporter, 1 still photographer, 1 radio reporter) into
the scene, who will share the information with their counterparts
outside the scene
NOTE: Since all information to be released at the incident / crime
scene must be cleared by the incident commander, in cooperation
with investigators, it is incumbent on the incident commander to
ensure the timely flow of information with the assigned P.I.O.
of Radio Calls:
- The date,
time and location of occurrence
- Information regarding crimes alleged or committed or any other
- Age of victim(s)
- Description of suspects (s)
- Description of vehicle (s)
- The factual circumstances of the incident
- Any injuries, property damage or weapons involved.
The name of
a victim of any crime defined by Penal Code sections 220, 261, 261.5,
264, 264.1, 235, 266, 266a, 266b, 266c, 266d, 266e, 266f, 266h,
266i, 266j, 267, 273a, 273d, 273.5, 281, 284, 286, 288, 288a, 288.5,
289, 422.6, 422.7, 422.75, or 646.9, may be withheld at the victim's
request, or at the request of the victim's parent or guardian if
the victim is a minor.
at a Disaster Scene:
The Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department may close an area under the authority
P.C. ". ..a menace to the public health or safety is created
by a calamity such as a flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion,
accident, or other disaster. . ."
409.5(d) P.C. states "Nothing in this section shall prevent
a duly authorized representative of any news service from entering
the area closed . . . "
Scene Command Post Areas may be closed to the media.
A safety hazard
to the media does not justify restriction; however, it is Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department policy to warn the media of potential
danger before allowing access.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel shall honor current
media passes, from other law enforcement agencies.
of suspect(s) prior to arrest
procedure results prior to arrest
may be released if the information:
Will aid in an investigation
aid in the apprehension of a suspect(s)
warn the public of danger
- Investigative proceedings involving officer involved shootings
or other personnel actions
- Prior criminal record, reputation or character of suspect(s)
- Release of any personal information about juvenile arrestee(s)
- Confession or existence of a confession
- Officer's opinion
- Any photograph or mug shots unless the information:
- Will aid in an investigation
- Will aid in the apprehension of a suspect(s)
- Will warn the public of danger
- The identity, credibility, or testimony of prospective witnesses
1. Any personal
opinion as to the suspect's guilt, innocence, or merits of the
2. Any information
known to be in-admissable in court
to investigative procedures such as fingerprints,
or ballistic tests
to 5328 WIC, information shall not be disclosed to the general public,
including news media, on any 5150 WIC action when a person is taken
into custody for 72-hour detention.
Scene "Don'ts" for LASD Personnel
- Do not establish
artificial barriers for the media. For example, do not cordon
off the media a block from the incident/crime while allowing the
general public to wan d e just beyond the incident / crime scene
- Do not arbitrarily
isolate the media outside the incident / crime scene, unless their
presence inhibits the investigation or response by law enforcement
or other emergency personnel.
- Do not prevent
the media from photographing, filming or interviewing people in
public areas. The media may interview, film or take photographs
of whomever they wish in public
- Do not limit
media access based on safety concerns. It is the responsibility
of each individual member of the media whether to assume the risks
Scene Reminders for LASD Personnel
- While some
incident / crime scenes may require a ban on any media vehicles,
this restriction may not necessarily apply to media access on
- A safety
hazard to the media does not justify restriction; however, warning
of potential danger before allowing access is LASD policy.
If the general public has access to an area, the media can also
- LASD personnel
shall honor current media passes from other law enforcement agencies.
- NOTE: In
the event of a dispute over access, contact the Sheriff's Headquarters