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HomeMy WebLinkAbout0030 - MEDIA RELATIONS POLICYRed Wing Police Department Policy SUBJECT: POLICY NUMBER ACME& MEDIA RELATIONS 30 EFFECTIVE DATE Aril 4, 2008 REFERENCE(S): APPROVED BY: CHIEF ROGER D. POHLMAN PURPOSE: It is the policy of the Red Wing Police Department, to cooperate fully and impartially with authorized news media representatives in their efforts to gather factual, public information pertaining to activities of the department, as long as these activities do not unduly interfere with departmental operation, infringe upon individual rights or violate the law. POLICY: It shall be the policy of the Red Wing Police Department, to establish guidelines for the release of information to the news media in a professional and timely manner. It is well understood that the media provides an invaluable service to the community by providing the public with information that it needs to know and is entitled to have. DEFINITIONS: "NEWS MEDIA" — Any printed or electronic means of conveying information to the public, including, but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, books, or other publications, and licensed radio and television broadcasting. "NEWS MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE" — Any full-time, directly employed representative of the news media. "NEWS RELEASE" — A prepared, written statement, for publication by the news media. "DESIGNATED PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER" — A department representative that has been designated by the Chief of Police who is responsible for preparation and or dissemination of information to the news media. PROCEDURE: A. DESIGNATED PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER It shall be the responsibility of the Chief of Police to act as the designated public information officer to work with the news media. In the event that the Chief of Police is not available, the Captain shall act as the Designated Public Information Officer. In the event of a significant news matter, the Chief of Police or their designee, may appoint a Public Information Officer until such time as the Chief of Page 1 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30 Police or their designee deems it no longer necessary. The responsibilities of the Designated Public Information Officer shall be as follows: 1. Assist news media personnel in covering routine news stories, and at the scene of incidents; 2. Being available to the news media after hours for major events; 3. Prepare routine news media releases on significant police related matters; 4. Schedule for and assist at departmental sponsored news conferences 5. Coordinate and authorize the release of departmental information in accordance with departmental policy, recognizing the responsibility for protecting the constitutional guarantees of fair trial and free press; 6. Coordinate the release of authorized information concerning confidential agency investigations and operations. B. OTHERS THAT MAY RELEASE INFORMATION In situations where a Designated Public Information Officer is not available, the following departmental members are authorized to release information to the news media: 1. The on -duty senior sergeant. 2. The commanding or ranking officer at the scene of an emergency or critical situation. 3. The investigator assigned to the case in question. 4. A designee of any of the above, when provided with a press release or specific briefing of the information to be disseminated. C. COOPERATION WITH NEWS MEDIA 1. Only authorized news media representatives shall have reasonable access to the Designated Public Information Officer, the Chief of Police or their designee. When information must be denied to a media representative, the basis for that denial shall be fully and courteously explained. 2. This department recognizes authorized identification from all local, national and international news organizations. Failure of the media personnel to present authorized identification may be grounds for restricting access to requested information or to the incident scene. 3. Public information shall be released to the media as promptly as circumstances allow, without partiality and in as objective a manner as possible. 4. It is recommended that information should be released to the news media in person, but information may be provided by telephone if the identity of the representative is known or can be authenticated. Page 2 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30 5. Written press statements shall be released only following approval of the Chief of Police or their designee. D. RELEASE OF SENSITIVE PERSONNEL, AGENCY INVESTIGATION OR OPERATIONS INFORMATION. 1. All requests for information concerning administrative investigations, employee corrective actions, or other employee matters will be directed to the Chief of Police or their designee. 2. All release of employee information will be done at the direction of the Chief of Police. 3. Any requests for records regarding on-going agency investigations or operations, shall be handled through the Chief of Police. Any release of information shall be done in accordance with state and federal data practices laws. Information which may be released in connection with criminal investigations include: a. The type or nature of an event or crime; b The location, date and time, injuries sustained, damages and general description of how the incident occurred; C. Type and quantity of property taken; d. The identity and approximate address of a victim with the exception of sex crime victims, domestic abuse victims, and in other cases where reprisals or intimidation may be employed; e. Request for aid in locating evidence, a complainant or a suspect; f. Numbers of officers or people involved in an event or investigation, and the length of the investigation; and g. Name of the officer in charge of a case, his supervisor (exception: The name of any undercover officer will not be released). 4. When an arrest is made, the following information may be made available for publication: a. The accused's name, age, sex and last known address of an adult person or the age and sex of any juvenile person cited, arrested, incarcerated or otherwise substantially deprived of liberty. b. The substance or text of the charge such as a complaint, indictment, information and where appropriate, the identity of the complainant; C. The identity of the investigating and arresting agency and length of the investigation; d. The circumstances immediately surrounding the arrest, including time and place of arrest, resistance, pursuit, Page 3 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30 possession and use of weapons and a description of items seized at the time of arrest. E. INFORMATION WHICH MAY NOT BE RELEASED IN CONNECTION WITH INVESTIGATIONS OF AN EVENT OR CRIME, UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE CHIEF OF POLICE OR THEIR DESIGNEE, INCLUDE: 1. The identity of a suspect prior to arrest unless such information would aid in apprehending the suspect or serve to warn the public of potential danger. 2. The identity of any victim of a sex crime, victim of domestic abuse, or any related information which, if divulged, could lead to the victim's identity. 3. The identity of victims or witnesses if such disclosure would prejudice an investigation to any significant degree, or if it would place the victim in personal danger. 4. The identity of any juvenile who is a suspect or defendant in a case subject to the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court. 5. The identity of any critically injured or deceased person prior to notification of next of kin. 6. The results of any investigative procedure such as lineups, polygraph tests, fingerprint comparison, ballistic test or other procedures shall not be released without first obtaining permission to do so from the prosecuting attorney handling the case. 7. Information that may be of evidentiary value in criminal proceedings. 8. Specific cause of death unless officially determined by the medical examiner. 9. The home address or home telephone number of any member of this department. F. NEWS MEDIA ACCESS TO RED WING POLICE DEPARTMENT FACILITIES. Authorized news media representatives shall have limited access to the Goodhue County Public Safety building in accordance with the following: 1. News media representatives, unless otherwise known to be a news media representative shall show their credentials to the on -duty receptionist/secretary or their designee, who will verify the press identification and grant permission to enter. 2. News media representatives shall be directed to a media room, unless directed to another room in the company of a department representative. 3. Photography through the use of still, video or motion picture is permitted with the approval of the Chief of Police or their designee. 4. Police ride -a -longs by the media shall be approved by the Chief of Police or their designee. Page 4 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30 G. PREPARATION AND DISSEMINATION OF NEWS RELEASES. 1. Media releases will be prepared for extraordinary or significant cases where there is likely to be public and media interest. 2. Media releases will be prepared using the City of Red Wing's formatted media release. 3. When writing a media release, the preparer will consider the following: a. Always include WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW; b. Use all CAPITAL LETTERS for easy reading; C. Make use of paragraphs where appropriate; d. The release should be written in clear, easy to understand style, avoiding use of police jargon, acronyms or codes; e. Make sure to include specifics such as inquiries, place booked, amount of bail; f. Avoid story telling and rambling; g. Always include a contact person for questions concerning the release; h. Make sure to number all pages and include the name of the releasing agency on the top of each page. H. INCIDENT SCENES When appropriate, news media personnel will be given special consideration at police incident and crime scenes. Special considerations include the following: 1. At the scene of a significant natural disaster or crime scene, news media cooperation shall be maintained to the degree that they do not interfere with the mission of the police, fire, medical or other emergency relief workers. 2. News media representatives should not be prevented from access to any area solely because of the possibility of their injury or death. If this is the only consideration, the media representative should be advised of the danger and allowed to make the decision of whether to enter or not. 3. The news media shall not be allowed access to any incident or crime scene where there is a possibility that evidence may be damaged, altered, destroyed or otherwise prejudiced by it's existence being published or portrayed. Once evidence has been processed, removed and secured by the department, the media may be allowed to enter by permission of the Designated Public Information Officer or Commanding Officer at the scene. 4. At major disaster or crime scenes, the Designated Public Information Officer or Commanding Officer will establish a designated press area as soon as possible and as close to the scene as safety and operational requirements permit. Page 5 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30 PRESS CONFERENCES In cases of extreme public interest, press conferences may be necessary and in such instances, the following shall be adhered to: 1. The Chief of Police or their designee will have the authority to call a press conference. 2. The Chief of Police or their designee will determine the format and content of the press conference. 3. Every attempt shall be made to schedule press conferences in such a manner as to provide the news media with ample advance notice of the date, time and location of such conference. Page 6 of 6 MEDIA RELATIONS -POLICY 30