Your Voices: Tell us your experience reporting on the NYPD

A report from WNYC this morning quoted critics of the New York City Police Department’s head spokesman, Paul Browne. Browne, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, has faced calls for his resignation over his recent flip-flops and backtracking in the fallout from news of an inflammatory film about Muslims that was shown to police recruits.

The WNYC piece also describes the police department’s “reputation for intense secrecy” and a culture of fear among rank-and-file officers when it comes to sharing information with the public and the press.

“Many of them told WNYC they fear Browne, because they believe he would personally see to it that they get punished if they ever spoke negatively about the department,” says the WNYC reporter, Ailsa Chang.

So, we’re curious — as members of the community and ethnic media, what has been your experience seeking information from your local police precincts or from the NYPD’s office of public information? Please share your stories and views in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

One Comment

  1. Added to the general disdain for new-gatherers at DCPI is contempt for small publications that are (correctly) seen as lacking the resources to sue or flex political muscle when denied information. More often than not, DCPI simply doesn’t respond to an inquiry, no matter how routine. When an officer is reached by phone, he or she is curt and often rude. Procuring a press card is a never-ending obstacle course. Yet when the Village Voice published the photo of a suspect in a case in our coverage area and we called to ask that we be added to the list of those who received press releases and videos, photos and sketches of suspects, we were told that only news outlets that held press cards could be on that list—a self-defeating policy that demonstrates the extent to which the office regards its role as withholding information. At the precinct level, many commanders and officers see value in being cooperative, but live in fear of offending the powers that be at 1 Police Plaza. I have used a false name and email address because, I, too, fear retaliation: the loss of any hope of obtaining press credentials and even more stonewalling of requests for information.

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