Dealing with the press can be challenging to say the least. You have to remember, dealing with the press can be an everyday occurrence in some departments. Most likely, your department will not allow you to make any statement to the press, so why engage with them? You will see the press show up on your calls depending on what type of call it is. Really, the press is not your enemy they’re merely trying to capture a newsworthy story before their competitor. Yes, some journalists can be pushy at the wrong time or may tend to get in the way of things. But really, if you just let them be everything should be okay. If you issue an order and they disobey your order, you can always deal with it later. If they put themselves in harms way well then they can accept the liability for disobeying your order.
Yes, you can arrest them all day but I will tell you the court will turn a deaf ear to you as the press do work under the first amendment and courts do not like prohibiting people from exercising freedom of speech. Take a look at all the paparazzi stories we’ve all heard of, they basically get away with whatever they want and are rarely held accountable. It is just a way of life my friends, do yourself a favor and let them be. Most cases, could have been handled differently if police officers wouldn’t let their pride get in the way. I am not saying to back down or not do your job, I am just saying use good judgement when dealing with the press. After all, it will be you who has to answer and when your administration calls you in to have a chat with you, you will see them with raised eye brows. Why? Well, it is because they do not want any bad publicity and I can assure you they will look at what action you took or didn’t take.
It has been my experience, even in riot situations dealing with the press was easy. They really only want to report the news story, they do not have anything against you and are not looking to catch you doing something wrong. It is all up to you to do your job effectively and if you do that you will not have a problem. I realize it is difficult at times but you’re considered the professional and must refrain from losing your cool. So, do yourself a favor read and understand your individual departments policy and understand the law as it pertains to dealing with the press! By doing this, you will surely end up on top and have no issues! Thank you for reading my story and understand I realize you have a very hard job to do and dealing with the press can be hard especially if the journalist is mean spirited and or just a rouge press person. If anything, notify your supervisor and report any bad behavior by the journalist. Remember, you can always complain later versus making a weak arrest for no good reason.