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MEDIA GUIDE
 
 

 

Media Ride-Along Guidelines

Public Disclosure of Crime & Arrest Reports

Releasable Information:
Facts & Circumstances of the Arrest

Media Access at an Incident/Crime Scene




Disclosure of Radio Calls

Media Access at a Disaster Scenes

Non-Releasable Information

Incident/Crime Scene:
           - "Don'ts" for LASD Personnel
           -
Reminders for LASD Personnel

 
  This 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 information.
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.
 
     

Media Ride-Along Guidelines:
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.

3. Officers 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.

4. Officers 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.

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Public Disclosure 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:

- Arrestee's full name (Note: Names of juvenile suspects shall not be released)
- Area of resident
- Occupation
- Physical description
- Age
- Sex

- Race/Ethnicity
- Date and time of arrest
- Location of arrest
- Factual circumstances
- Location held
- Amount of bail
- All charges including warrants
- Parole or probation holds


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Releasable 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


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Media 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.

Whenever the 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 the media
- 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.


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Disclosure of Radio Calls:

- The date, time and location of occurrence
- Information regarding crimes alleged or committed or any other incident investigated
- 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.

 

 

 

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Media Access at a Disaster Scene:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department may close an area under the authority of:

  • 409.5(a) 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. . ."
  • However, 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 . . . "

Disaster 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.
NOTE:
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel shall honor current media passes, from other law enforcement agencies.

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Non-Releasable Information:

- Identity of suspect(s) prior to arrest
- Investigative procedure results prior to arrest
- Above may be released if the information:
         1. Will aid in an investigation
         2. Will aid in the apprehension of a suspect(s)
         3. Will 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) or suspect(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 including:
         1. Any personal opinion as to the suspect's guilt, innocence, or merits of the case
         2. Any information known to be in-admissable in court
         3. References to investigative procedures such as fingerprints,
                 polygraph, or ballistic tests

Note: Pursuant 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.

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Incident/Crime 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 tape.
  • 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
    areas.
  • 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 involved.

Incident/Crime 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 foot.
  • 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 be there.
  • 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 Bureau.

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