LAPD Revises Terror Policy but Still Labels Photographers as Potential Terrorists

Carlos Miller of Photography Is Not A Crime wrote,

While various Southern California news sites are reporting that the Los Angeles Police Department has revised its terror policy to allow police to detain photographers as potential terrorists, that has actually been its policy since at least 2008.

The only thing that has changed is now the Suspicious Activity Report reminds officers that they are not allowed to profile citizens based on ethnicity or race.

It also throws in a disclaimer that photography and other listed activity is “generally protected by the First Amendment” and that officers should look for actual evidence of criminal activity before detaining citizens.

But cops are never known to read the fine print. And apparently neither are mainstream journalists who are treating this as a new policy change.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Over the objections of some civil liberties groups, the Los Angeles Police Commission approved controversial new guidelines Tuesday for when LAPD officers can document suspicious behavior they believe could be linked to terrorism.

The five-member civilian oversight panel unanimously approved a special order that gives officers the authority to write reports on people whose actions might not break any laws, such as taking a photograph of a power plant.

From the Los Angeles Weekly:

Even as America has remained fairly free of foreign terrorism in recent years, the LAPD this week moved ahead with an official policy that considers taking photos and videotaping of some buildings suspicious activity.

The LAPD is obviously not deterred by a lawsuit filed by the ACLU last year against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department where deputies displayed an ongoing pattern of detaining photographers for simply taking photos.

Below are screenshots from page 40 of the 52-page 2008 policy regarding photographers followed by page five of the revised policy from last month followed by the disclaimer.

Photography is Not a Crime

  • Chris

    lol @ terrorism. this policy is appalling in so many ways.

  • certain

    Spend some time in an LA County jail. You’ll learn about terrorists real quickly. Like the first time you receive a beat-down for looking a deputy in the eye. Cowardly terrorists that have to attack you in a pack, but terrorists all the same.

  • John Q Public

    Potential Criminal or Non-Criminal Activity Requiring Additional Fact Information
    During an Investigation.
    • Eliciting Information. Questioning individuals at a level beyond mere curiosity about particular facets of a facility’s or
    building’s purpose, operations, security procedures, etc.,
    that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person;
    • Testing or Probing of Security. Deliberate interactions with, or challenges to, installations, personnel, or systems that reveal physical, personnel or cyber security capabilities.

    Kinda like what copblockers tend to do.

  • John Q Public

    Oh, and go to a military installation and start filming and find out how quick you get stopped and checked out.

  • Yankee Fan

    Military installations as you know John, is not property where the general public is allowed to be. Any place where the public is allowed to be should not be harrassed, intimidated, threatened or arrested for pulling out an iphone and snapping pics. We hear how they don’t mind being filmed but we all thats bullshit. Take a pic of a police officer in an embarassing situation or worse yet engaging in activity that can be described as criminal and lets see how long you keep your phone. The phone will be searched which is a 4th amendment violation based on state laws and the pics/filming deleted.

  • DKSuddeth

    is a military installation blocked from public view by a 30 foot tall brick wall? No, so therefore parts of it are open to public view with no restrictions whatsoever, so tell me how it is different than law enforcement having open reign to view someones backyard because it’s only a chain link fence?

  • Ed

    Not one “terrorist” attack had photography involved. Someone could go to Google maps and get all of the pictures they want, including government buildings. It’s not illegal to photograph ANYTHING if it’s in public view. Besides the Chief of police thinks it’s illegal to film the TSA. It’s not. They just make up the rules.

  • Yankee Fan

    If you are public property you can , but if you go on military property you can and most likley will be question and definitly be detained if you take pics of high security areas!

  • Ed

    You can’t just walk onto a military base without proper I.D.. So, all of you that aren’t Veterans don’t have a clue. I had a classified clearance during my tour and they checked everyone. Military members don’t walk around with weapons on a post or a base either, as most civilians think. Just saying.

  • Yankee Fan

    I did to ED, I held a top secret security clearance with access to SCI information. I am well aware of how military installations work indeed

  • KAZ

    Military installations are open to the public but you must check in with proper I.D. before you can enter the installation. As far as taking pictures that is perfectly legal but you may get questioned about your actions as stated above. Terrorist are not idiots and perform recon the same as we do. Taking pictures is a form or gathering information about an area or building. I am currently in the army and my advice to all photographers who would like to take pictures on base is simple, just let the base police know you will be taking pictures for whatever your reasons are and you will not be hassled.

  • Yankee Fan

    Taking of pictures is off limits in areas that are high security. You will get more than questioned. It does depend on what is going on. I was in military intelligence and photography was prohibited around those areas and some bases like like an ammo holding area will get your images deleted and you detained. It does alld epend but in general, yes you can without any issue!!

  • http://yahoo larry

    Why are these cops alowed to set policy? Who in the hell regulats them or do they really have to do something wrong to regulat them?

  • gabriel

    I just can not believe this. Documenting police abuse via photograph and video was the only defense that we had against this corrupt so called law enforcement. Now, we have absolutely nothing to defend ourself with. L.A. can now be compared to a dictatorship with limitless power and cruelty. What is America turning into?. I am ashamed of my goverment for no longer protecting our people and allowing this to happen. There is only one way people free themselves from such situations, and that is trough revolutions. God bless the people, and help us to never come to this.

  • certain

    SCI information, huh? I’m going to have to call bullshit on that particular claim. And if you don’t know why, that’s even more reason to call bullshit. Anybody with any real knowledge of those types of things knows exactly what I am talking about.

  • certain

    Military Intelligence, really now… this gets better and better. So which branch was it where you performed these duties which involved access to SCI information (<- that still kills me)? And what was your MOS? Here's a good one – Did you work on SCI information in a SCIF facility?

  • Yankee Fan

    Yes, SCI certain. Its called a top security clearance with access to sci information. You get what is called “read on” to control programs when you do certain jobs or duty assignments and then get read off when you are done. Talent keyhole is one of them as well as Gamma. Talent Keyhole deals with satellite imagery something that i used almost daily in germany and at Fort Lewis. 96 Bravos had to have this level of security clearance to do their jobs.

  • Yankee Fan

    To answer your questions

    1) 96 Bravo Intelligence analyst where a top secret clearence with access to sci is required. This is a FBI level background investigation
    2) I worked out of a scif as well as the Vault as it was called at fort lewis when it opened.

    SCI stands for sensitive compartmented information. It is placed in control programs to limit access on a need to know basis. So yes I do know what I am talking about. In fact before leaving the milittary in telligence center and school at Fort Huachuca we had to have the Green Mailer in our file stating we were good to go.

  • Yankee Fan

    I was actually a 96b20 since I left the service as a SGT/E5. Here is a link that describes it even though the MOS number has appeared to changed.

  • Yankee Fan
  • Yankee Fan

    Sorry for duplicate postings but here is page 2, certain. Look at requirement 5. Notice what is says? Must meet top security requirement as well as SCI requirement. Really is not that hard to comprehend nor is it a big deal.