6-200 Relations with the Media
6-201 MEDIA INFORMATION AND MEDIA RELEASES (02/07/03) (02/24/06)
The policy of the MPD is to establish a cooperative relationship with the news media in supplying information on matters of public interest. Only Information that violates the constitutional rights of the victim or the accused, interferes with an on-going investigation, or is legally privileged may be withheld from the public.
The MPD may designate at its discretion, sworn or non-sworn personnel to serve as Public Information Officer(s) for the MPD. The PIO will work closely with Police Department personnel, MPD Command Staff and the City Communications Director or his/her designee. For chain of command purposes, the PIO will report directly to the Chief or his/her designee.
The PIO may occasionally receive calls and requests during off duty hours to assist in resolving issues. A PIO who does not respond or is unable to respond during off duty time will not be subject to discipline, unless the PIO has been placed on standby in accordance with Section 10.4 of the Labor Agreement. The MPD may, in accordance with Section 3 of the Labor Agreement, change, amend or delete the duties and/or responsibilities of the PIO at any time.
All inquiries, including requests for interviews, will be directed to the Public Information Officer (PIO). Inquiries regarding “on-scene” incidents shall be referred to the ranking officer (or designee) in charge at the scene. Only factual public information related to that incident shall be released. Updates to that incident may be obtained by contacting the PIO during normal business hours.
• No MPD employee should initiate a media contact without going through the PIO.
• Inquiries regarding current investigations shall be referred to the PIO.
• MPD employees shall not release information on any case where the progress of an investigation may be jeopardized by premature media coverage.
• MPD employees shall not represent opinion as fact.
6-203 RELEASE OF INFORMATION (NEWS MEDIA RELEASE FORM) (02/24/06)
Completing a News Media Release Form (MPD 8877) will be the responsibility of the Public Information Officer (PIO). All written media releases and/or press conferences must be approved by the Chief of Police, a designated member of the Police Administration, or the PIO. Such information will be distributed to all news media outlets which regularly cover department activities.
When major incidents such as homicides, officer involved shootings, natural disasters, etc. occur; the Public Information Officer (PIO) will proactively contact media organizations which regularly cover department activities. When possible, the on-scene supervisor or PIO will direct media to a staging area. Media briefings and updates will be held at these designated areas.
6-205 NEWS RELEASE ON VEHICULAR ACCIDENTS (02/24/06)
MPD employees should only give the name, address, age and a short description of how an accident occurred. This also includes any juvenile, unless the juvenile will be cited, arrested, incarcerated or otherwise substantially deprived of liberty. Under these circumstances, age and sex may only identify a juvenile.
6-206 SITE ACCESS FOR NEWS MEDIA (02/24/06)
MPD employees shall not unnecessarily obstruct news media personnel from performing their duties at emergency scenes. However, news media will not be allowed to cross police lines, which are set up to protect a crime scene. Members of the media must follow all municipal, state, and federal statutes. Media can be restricted from an area where their presence can jeopardize police operations. Only the ranking on-scene officer may grant news media representatives access to any area closed because of investigation or health and safety hazards.