Radio & Television News Association

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Proposed New LAPD Credentialing System

On Thursday, June 1, 2006, Mary Grady of the LAPD
visited the RTNA board meeting to discuss her proposal
for modifying the process of issuing press passes for
the media. Following is a summary of the discussion:

• There are currently 4,000 press passes in use.

• The ordinance for issuance of press passes is
Chapter V, Article 2, Section 52.16: News Media
Identification Cars, Issuance of.

• The ordinance was established in the 1970’s through
collaboration of a group of journalists, the LAPD, and
the city attorney’s office.

• The problem: since the 1970’s a lot of new types of
media have emerged that tout themselves as “news” and
want to get press passes; entertainment-reporting
programs, sports-reporting programs, freelancers,
internet news providers, and blogs.

• The current sticking point in the ordinance is the
word “regularly”: “…reporters and photographers who
regularly cover news events at which police and/or
fire lines within the City of Los Angeles are

• Mary has to follow the current established ordinance
as it stands. However, the newer media categories
cause problems because they aren’t addressed in the

• Mary studied how other police departments worked
with this challenge.

• The New York Police Department has a 3-card system
in place that shows some promise.

• Mary reviewed their system and has modified it to
create her proposal.

Mary’s Proposal:
A two-card system.

1. A photo-ID card. A working Journalist ID card with
a photo and scanning capabilities on it, similar to
what is currently in existence. These are for working
journalists. Anyone who currently has an LAPD Press
Pass will automatically get “grandfathered” in and
receive a new press pass. Background checks will be
required. Anyone else who applies and who meets the
current guidelines/ordinance will get a Photo ID as

2. A “Media” card. This card has no photograph.
Instead, it has the name of the organization on it.
These are for people or organizations (like
Entertainment Tonight) who do NOT meet the current
ordinance for a press pass. The organization will be
issued a limited quantity of cards based upon the
quantity of people they have doing news operations.
The organization is responsible for controlling the
cards. If they lose the cards, they must wait until
the next 5-year cycle for issuance of new cards.
These are for temporary use for certain situations

• Mary stressed that this is still just a proposal.
She’s actively seeking input from journalists to
create a workable process.

• The exact criteria for defining who would receive
media cards and who would not are still being


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