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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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0631.35 Press/Media Relations

Directive 631.35, Press/Media Relations

Refer:

  • Human Resources Administrative Rule 11.01, Statement of Ethical Conduct
  • Directive 614.50, Release of Information

Policy:

1. The Portland Police Bureau believes in fostering positive press/media relations. As such, public information will be provided to the press/media in an accurate, timely, and detailed manner consistent with the law and public safety considerations.

2. It is the responsibility of all Bureau members to reasonably cooperate with the press/media. Press/media inquiries relating to police incidents will be handled expeditiously by the member in charge of the incident or their designee(s).

3. The Public Information Officer (PIO) serves as the Bureau’s spokesperson, thus is responsible for coordinating communications. The PIO must be aware of Bureau activities that fall under the realm of news and keep command staff abreast of press/media interests. As a result, any member providing information to the press/media shall notify the PIO, about the nature of the request and the information released by the end of their shift.

Procedure:

1. Notification of the Public Information Officer (PIO):

1.1.   The Public Information Officer (PIO) is available to respond to any event which creates a substantial interest and response by the press/media, and when on scene members require support. The PIO may be contacted by telephone or pager for immediate response, or by email for simple notification.

1.2.   Incidents that require notification of the PIO include, but are not limited to:

1.2.1.      All homicides and major crimes of possible news interest.

1.2.2.      Serious injury to a member.

1.2.3.      Serious or extensive damage to city property.

1.2.4.      Any explosion or bomb threat requiring Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) response.

1.2.5.      Major incidents at large-scale events (e.g. stadiums, parks, schools, malls, etc.).

1.2.6.      All incidents where police firearms are discharged during a police action or incident.

1.2.7.      SERT, CNT, or Major Crash Team activation.

1.2.8.      Serious hate/bias crimes.

1.2.9.      Incidents causing, or likely to cause, unusual public concern or news media coverage.

1.2.10.  Demonstrations or protests with arrest(s).

1.3.   Upon notification of an incident or an issue of interest to the press/media, the PIO will notify the Police Commissioner, Chief of Police, Assistant Chiefs, and/or command staff as appropriate.

2. Releasing information to the press/media during an incident:

2.1.   The Public Information Officer (PIO) will generally be the source of information about the Bureau to the press/media. Members in charge of an incident may release information to the press/media in accordance with this Directive.

2.2.   Members in charge of an incident or their designee(s) will see that accurate information is released as soon as feasible, regardless of press/media deadlines, unless a specific time has been set for a news conference or the release of information is being handled by the PIO. Members may also refer media to the Media Resources section of the Bureau’s website (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/63967).

2.3.   The same information will be released to all communications press/media.

2.4.   Members will not prevent members of the news media from broadcasting, taking pictures, or taking video if they have the lawful right to be at the location. Members may ask the news media not to broadcast live during an active tactical incident.

2.5.   Any member releasing information to the press/media shall notify the PIO, about the nature of the request and the information released by the end of their shift. The PIO may be contacted by telephone or pager for immediate response, or by email for simple notification.

3. Directing press/media access on scene:

3.1.   At the scene of a major incident, press/media access may be restricted on scene or in airspace above until the member in charge or their designee(s) gives permission. Admittance to a crime scene on public property may also be limited if press/media presence would unreasonably obstruct or interfere with the investigation (e.g., gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses and victims, etc.), hamper the carrying out of police duties (e.g., handling an emergency situation), or jeopardize the safety of any person.

3.2.   Members of the press/media do not have the right to enter private property without consent of the property owner.

3.3.   In the event of a major incident, the press/media personnel may be directed to a safe location (media staging location).

3.4.   In hazardous areas members of the press/media may enter at their own risk, after a reasonable level of order or control has been established, and with the approval of the member in charge or their designee(s). At the scene of an emergency operation (e.g., fire, hostage situation, explosion, cave-in, etc.), members may deny or limit access to members of the press/media if their presence creates an unsafe situation for themselves or others.

4. General information release:

4.1.   The Public Information Officer (PIO) will generally be the source of information about the Bureau to the press/media. However, a member may be contacted by the press/media requesting official records. Because press/media requests regarding official records (e.g. police reports, photos, videos, etc.) must be made in writing and reviewed in accordance with applicable public record law, members will direct any press/media requesting official records to the Records Division, in accordance with Directive 614.50, Release of Information. Members should direct press/media requests for booking photos to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

4.2.   Members may also work with the PIO to prepare and distribute news releases of Bureau interest (e.g. awards, announcements, promotions, etc.). Members are encouraged to contact the PIO with a request and provide relevant information and any supporting materials to the PIO.

History:

  • Originating Directive Effective: 09/06/01
  • First Revision Effective: 06/14/02
  • Second Revision Effective: 06/30/15 (Name Change, Rescind Directive 631.34, Critical Incident Notification)
  • Next Review Date: 06/30/17
  • Review By: Chief’s Office/Communications Unit