Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G09-02
News Media Guidelines
Issue Date:28 December 2012Effective Date:28 December 2012
Rescinds:2 October 2004 Version
Index Category:Information Management
I.Purpose
This directive states Department policy and procedure concerning the release of information to the news media concerning arrests, investigations, and other police incidents of public interest. Department members will refer to the Special Order titled "News Media Guidelines" for procedures for participating in media interviews.
II.Policy
  • A.It is the policy of the Chicago Police Department to cooperate impartially with the news media in providing information on crime and police-related matters while simultaneously conforming to the protections guaranteed to individuals under the US Constitution.
  • B.Staging the movement of an arrestee for the sole purpose of allowing the arrestee to be photographed or videotaped by the news media is prohibited.
  • C.The Superintendent of Police is the official spokesperson for the Department on matters of Departmental policy. The only exception to this provision is when the Superintendent specifically designates a subordinate member for this purpose.
  • D.District commanders/unit commanding officers will respond to press inquiries and provide information within the procedures outlined in this directive.
III.Procedure
  • A.News Media Inquiries
    • 1.The ranking officer at the scene or in charge of an investigation of a crime, arrest, or other police incident will respond to news media inquiries. The ranking officer may designate a subordinate member to speak to the media.
    • 2.When there is doubt regarding the release of information, the Director, Office of News Affairs, or the ranking supervisor on scene will be contacted for assistance.
    • 3.Inquiries can be made to the Office of News Affairs seven days a week during all watches.
  • B.News Media Authorization
    The Superintendent of Police has the authority to issue news media credentials to authorized representatives. Such credentials are identified in the Department directive entitled "News Media Credentials."
  • C.Access to Crime Scenes
    • 1.Upon approval of a supervisor, news media with Chicago Police Department issued news media credentials or credentials issued by another law enforcement agency will be allowed access to a crime scenes outer perimeter secured with yellow barrier tape.
      NOTE:
      News media without any of the above-mentioned credentials will be allowed access to a crime scenes staging area but not within the yellow crime scene barrier tape perimeter.
    • 2.Supervisors in charge of a respective crime scene will determine what media access is allowed in accordance with the Department directive entitled "Crime Scene Protection and Processing."
    • 3.News media will be permitted on a crime scene only after the Medical Examiner, Forensic Services Division, Bureau of Detectives, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) personnel have completed their examinations of the crime scene and any other legitimate police purpose is not compromised by media presence.
    • 4.Media access may be further limited by the following:
      • a.Media access to a crime scene on private property will only be permitted after the owner or the owners agent informs the police that the owner authorizes the media presence.
      • b.Access to disaster areas will be restricted when such access will hamper necessary emergency action, volatile circumstances may exist, or the presence of news media representatives would unnecessarily endanger their lives and/or the lives of surviving disaster victims.
  • D.Information that will not be Disseminated
    • 1.Department members are reminded that pursuant to the Department directive entitled "Hospital Run Sheet," MEMBERS WILL TREAT ALL INFORMATION RECEIVED AS CONFIDENTIAL. DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL MEDICAL INFORMATION MAY RESULT IN LEGAL SANCTIONS THAT MAY INCLUDE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, IN ADDITION TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION BY THE DEPARTMENT.
    • 2.Subject to the exceptions in this directive and in the Department directive entitled "Freedom of Information," information contained in all Department documents will not be disseminated in response to a media request for information.
    • 3.The following information will not be released to the news media:
      • a.The identity or addresses of witnesses or cooperating individuals, or specific information from their oral or written statements that could reasonably be used to identify them or endanger their lives or physical safety.
      • b.The names or addresses of sex-crime victims.
      • c.Juvenile records or information that will identify juvenile victims, offenders, or arrestees, including those charged as adults.
      • d.The content of any confession, statement, or admission.
    • 4.When it is necessary to withhold or delay the release of information, Department members will explain the reason for doing so to news-media representatives.
  • E.Information that may be Disseminated
    • 1.The following information may be released if an accused adult is in custody and charged on a signed complaint or wanted on an issued arrest warrant:
      • a.name, age, address, and occupation;
      • b.time, place, and reason for the arrest;
      • c.the nature, substance, or text of the charge;
      • d.the scheduling or result of any step in the judicial proceedings;
      • e.any information to aid in the apprehension of the accused or to warn the public of any dangers that the accused may present;
      • f.requests by the Department for assistance in obtaining witnesses or evidence.
    • 2.The following information may be released to the news-media through the Director, Office of News Affairs, or through the exempt member in charge of a particular investigation:
      • a.Convictions that are part of criminal histories.
      • b.A request for an arrestee identification photograph.
        NOTE:
        The Identification Record (IR) Number must be removed before releasing an arrestee identification photograph.
      • c.General crime and news information, except as limited in this directive. All other requests for general information will be disseminated in compliance with existing Department guidelines.
    • 3.The following information may be released subject to the specific restrictions mentioned below:
      • a.The identity of a crime victim may be given to the news media except when the release of such information may endanger the victims life or physical safety or the release of such information is prohibited by provisions in this directive.
      • b.The name of a deceased person may be given to the news media only after the next of kin has been notified and obtained their consent.
      • c.Information concerning physical evidence will be released only with the approval of the Bureau of Detective area unit commander or the commanding officer in charge of the investigation. If necessary, the Assistant State's Attorney in the Felony Review Unit may be contacted for further guidance.
      • d.No photo of an officer under investigation shall be made available to the media prior to a conviction for a criminal offense or prior to a decision being rendered by the Police Board.
    • 4.The following general information may be released in any incident where the accused adult or victim is incapacitated or refuses to have any personal information released:
      • a.General description of the incident.
      • b.Gender of the injured.
      • c.Age of the injured.
      • d.Hospital where the injured has been transported.
      • e.General medical condition of the injured, e.g., conscious, unconscious, subject to the provision in Item III-D-1 of this directive.
(Items indicated by italic/double underline were added or revised)
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
03-100 / 12-003 MAT/KK(PMD)/RJN
ADDENDA:
1.G09-02-01 - News Media Credentials