LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 5:05 am

Ok guys its time to do something about the situation at ORD. I know the police wont do jack but maybe the newspapers will.
http://www.dailyherald.com

Heres what i wrote to the Daily Herald.

"I am an aviation photographer and i visit O'Hare alot to take photos. I have been stopped by the police a couple times before and questioned what i was doing. Today it seems was diffrent. A police car pulled over and 2 officers came out. They questioned me as usual and asked me for any kind of ID, i showed them my school ID and library card as i had nothing else on me. Then the one of the officers looked through my things which was my camera and a videocamera. He said he dosent feel comfortable with me taking photos of planes and that "i am gathering usefull information" I didnt want to argue with him but it is complete nonsense because hundreds of thousands of photos of planes are everywhere. I told him it was my hobby and he just shook his head. He also asked me how i got there. I told him my dad dropped me off and went back home. He found it suspicious and told me that lots of dangerous things could happen to me. I left the area because I dont have the power to argue with the police.

Let me add that this was a public road and a common place for planespotters to watch planes and take photos.It was right off of Irving Park by the Aerospace Center. According to the FAA and the Chicago Aviation Authority laws taking photos of planes isnt illegal anywhere but in the security areas inside terminals. I told the officer that what i was doing wasent illegal. He just told me that It didnt feel write and that i could be gathering information which terrorists could use. I was surprised that a police officer would stop a 16 year old white student and accuse him of gathering information that could be used by terrorists.

I asked the officers if there were any other spots to watch planes and they told me that no and i should leave. O'Hare is probably the most unfriendly airport for people who love aviation. There is no viewing area whatsoever. It is a shame that such a great activity and a past time has gone to waste.
The situation is one of the worst in the world with Chicago."

The exciting thing is that Daily Herald and possibly the Chicago Tribune is interested in actually writing about this and the dirt poor spotting situation here in Chicago. i have gotten an email from the Transportation Editor in the Daily Herald and the Tribune and been asked some questions and possibly even good for a story. Its about time someone will try to fight for at least 1 safe spot at O'Hare. Too bad, ive emailed the police dept. at ORD and gave the 2 officers name who stopped me and told them to look into it. These 2 cops also stopped some other spotters....maybe at least we can do something about them.

Regards,
Peter
 
ake0404ar
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 10:55 am

RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 5:16 am

Good luck, team up with Chris Weldy, I believe he has some stories as well.....
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 5:38 am

Yep,

Hell Im going to take out the trash here at ORD.
 
AA 737-800
Posts: 176
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 5:47 am

LOT,

Is it very common for you to get stopped at ORD? Or do you think that they just stopped you cause you were a teenager spotting by yourself? Do you think they would have responded differently if you were with some other people or an adult? I realize that these are quite a few questions, but I am planning on spending a day spotting at ORD during my time in Chicago and nothing would ruin my trip more then being harassed by the police. Thanks in advance.

-AA 737-800
Civil engineering isn't about making things perfect...just better.
 
737heavy
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 6:02 am

Almost getting arrested for doing something legal, wow only in America. You want to move to the UK we don't have this stupid problem. The police check the viewing park at my local airport, Manchester, so many times a day but all this seems to involve is a nice pleasent drive around making sure no one is parked in a stupid place. I just don't understand why they the authorities in the USA have gone as far as they have. Hope it stays on that side of the Atlantic.

Regards
 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 6:11 am

737heavy thats why I look to my trips to Poland to spot at WAW, no hassles totally.

AA im trying to get this situation sorted for future and current ORD spotters.
And yes if there were other people i wouldnt have been stopped. I was alone on that day because it was unbearable hot. And no its not that common in that place. Police drove right by you without even stopping but this ass was diffrent
 
JayDavis
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 6:19 am

I hope someone from one of the Chicago papers takes up your story and your cause. It is ABSOLUTELY ABSURB for the police to harass the photographers and spotters who are at the airport!! Do we "look" like terrorists? Hell no, we stick out like sore thumbs with all of our camera gear, radios, back-packs, etc...

A terrorists tries to blend in to the scenery around him/her.

I'm getting so sick of being hassled I've almost given up with my hobby, but I'm not going to yet! I think many of these policemen/policewomen that harass us and bother us, just do it to get their rocks off !! I think many of our "Nation's Finest" actually like to pick on people and harass people because they don't have a life or a future, except for being a law officer. Granted, YES, we NEED policemen and policewomen to protect us and many are fine and outstanding people and citizens, but all departments have some that maybe, just maybe, shouldn't be in law enforcement !!

I just wish our side of the Pond was like England !! The Bobbies over there are so nice!


Jay Davis
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 6:49 am

I agree 100% they stopped me just because i was a teenager with a camera, binos and scanner and the only one on that day due to the weather.....
 
737heavy
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 7:20 am

We need policemen and woman and they do a great job, but to pester someone doing something that is legal just seems to be strange. However it could be government going totalitarian. There hasn't been prohibition for a while has there?
 
donder10
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 7:44 am

The 'your doing something mister''-esque lingo reminds me of A View From The Bridge!How are the plans for a US spotting association coming along?
 
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Scooter
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 8:27 am

Ahh yes...they have been clamping down HARD at ORD for the past month or so - and it sucks. I got kicked out of the L concouse at the end of May for taking pics. The security guard who kicked me out of the L concourse was polite at first, but got snippy as I kept trying to tell him I was doing nothing wrong. When asked why it's illegal to take a picture of an airplane, he responded "didn't you hear about 9/11?" I held back from saying something like "so I suppose it's illegal to take pictures of tall buildings too?" Instead, I did as he said.

I was MAJOR pissed. Went home, composed a firm email to ORD security, but didn't send it - I probalby would have done more harm than good by sending that letter.

The most frustrating thing about all this is that we can't do anything about it -especially at ORD. It's turning into a Nazi war camp for no reason at all - even the good spot at 27L has been blocked off for USG parking permits only. There is just no reasoning with the police and security that this is a hobby, plain and simple. For now (and for a long while, I'm afraid) the only solution is a 600mm lens or a move out of this country. Land of the free? Pshhh....
My name is Scott, and I am addicted to writing trip reports.
 
CcrlR
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 8:54 am

This doesn't make sense though. I took pictures of planes at ORD and they never kicked me out. One thing I would tell them is what would the terrorists want with pictures of planes? It's a good thing that you are telling the news about this but I would try TV too cause they would like this. It's not right for a police officer to stop you and search stuff if you're not commiting a illegal offense. There is no useful information in a picture of a plane. It's just a plane in the airline's colors.
"He was right, it is a screaming metal deathtrap!"-Cosmo (from the Fairly Oddparents)
 
b757300
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 9:13 am

Cops and airport security people are stupid. I used to have a good opinion of police officers but now I think most are as dumb as a stump.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
Dazed767
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 9:49 am

Yeah Chris has some horror stories about ORD. I want to hit it up sometime this year (how about a BIG meeting there this summer? Big grin )
 
CO777-200ER
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 10:19 am

Hey LOT
Hey guess what LOT, I was spotting at MKE today and for the first time a cop came up to me too today. But nothing happened to me acutally it was pretty stupid for the cop to come up to me. She was like so what you doing there, and as usual i was like taking pictures of planes, she wanted my id, so I gave it to her and then she asked me if this was my hobby or whatever and all this other crap and then just left, I think these cops are doing this because they have nothing other to do then just stop us spotters. Well I might come to ORD one of these weekends and I sure hope I don't get stopped.

JOEY
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 10:55 am

Right,

I didnt get stopped for 2 years at 27L.....now all of a sudden i did. However see i was on foot without a car...so parking wasent a problem and i still got hassled. Thats why i wrote to the daily herald. Maybe they can do something about it
 
H. Simpson
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 11:26 am

damn, LOT767-300ER you are messing up my mood for this week's "Spotting in Toronto"...

anyway, good luck to you & your article  Big thumbs up
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 11:33 am

Im just giving a warning to everyone that will spot at ORD. MDW is pretty tightly watched too. Its too bad but im ready to go at the cops.
 
CactusA319
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 11:47 am


It really boils down to what cop/security guard is working the shift on that day. Some cops will just see you and keep going. Most of them are used to seeing spotters, especially at the USG lot. There are countless number of people who stop there to either just watch planes fly by or take pics. That's nothing new.

I've been on the ORD perimeter frequently for spotting and have only gotten harrased once and that was a month after 9/11. The cop who stopped me then wasn't a bad guy. He asked for my ID, the reg. on my car and checked my camera equipment while asking me what I was doing there. I told him I worked at the airport and did this as a hobby as numerous other people did. He knew that spot (the gravel lot on Higgins, under the 22R approach) was popular with people watching planes but he gave the schpiel about security issues and whatnot and told me he was sorry but I had to leave. And that was that. Other times I've been at the USG lot and a Schiller Park cop will stop and sit there and watch over the spotters for a while and then leave. Other than that no problems. I've spotted at MDW and haven't been approached once, although I've had a cop slow down and check what I was doing before moving on.

I guess I've been lucky, considering what others have gone through. Every time someone from out of town asks me how the situation here is, I tell them it's ok although there is a chance you'll get checked out. Half the time it's true in some way. So it's all luck of the draw I guess.

It's a good idea though to let the press in on this kind of thing. It makes for a pretty good story in the local news section, as well as a heightened public awareness of our hobby and the issues we are having right now with the authorities. However there is one question I have from this post. When were you "almost arrested?" I mean did they threaten to cuff you, read your Miranda rights and haul you in? or did they just ask you some questions and ask you to leave?

 
LOT767-300ER
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 12:32 pm

Yea he told me "if you dont stop taking photos here we will take you down to the station, and the situation you will be in wont be pretty"
 
jderden777
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 12:34 pm

LOT, let me know what you get....kevin cook and i got hassled inside the terminal....there was another guy at 27L that said "be careful about doing that sort of thing" while we were walking back to our hotel after spending a few hours out there taking pics...
it'll be interesting to hear what happens....we're all with ya, and i think it would be good publicity for us....maybe...

jonathan d.
"my soul is in the sky" - shakespeare
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 12:40 pm

Hey can i give your name to the editor of the Daily Herald.....he would also like to ask some questions to other spotters...?
 
b757300
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 1:21 pm

You should have let them arrest you. I told the fools here @ CLL to call the FBI like they threatened but they wouldn't do it. These stupid cops like to use their position to intimidate people. 98% of what they say is hot air. The only time I won't argue is with the barrel of a gun in my face, which has happened.

I'm not a lawyer but from my understanding, if they arrest you without a good reason, you can raise some serious sh*t.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
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BO__einG
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 2:00 pm

Well Add me to the list of potential arrests.

Starting now if I am at the airport taking pictures, I can get arrested. I wont get shot thou even thou lethal force was authorized but only for the SUMMIT area location.

The Calgary airport will be on lockdown from now will G8 is over. Tomorrow morning I will be there shooting rolls of film as VIP's approach in the early morning hours. I hope I dont get arrested though and probably I wont if I keep a low profile.

Bo
Follow @kimbo_snaps on Instagram or bokimon- on Flickr to see more pics of me and my travels.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Tue Jun 25, 2002 8:16 pm

This is just unbelieveble...

So paranoia, comme on...

Why would a terrorist be interested in a picture of a B737 of American Airlines, comme on...

I am sure that those terrorists have more usefull information, than a picture.

Regards,
Frederic
 
jderden777
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 2:20 am

i won't be able to make it up there this summer....but i will be back up to ORD for a weekend in november....friday-monday...like 15-18 or something like that...that's a long way off but hey...i was just up there  Wink/being sarcastic

i hope this guy contacts me for an interview or what not....i'd like to tell him what happened to us while we were up there....i agree with Gabe though, it largely depends on who is working/driving around that day....

good luck though...
jonathan d.
"my soul is in the sky" - shakespeare
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 3:22 am

Next time im sticking an FAA email up the cops ass, and i will give him sass. Im through with it.
 
b757300
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 4:09 am

The one thing everyone needs to remember is that the FAA is no longer in charge of airport security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the government body that makes airport law.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."
 
exnonrev
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 4:09 am

Sounds like the Checkerheads are longing for the good old days of 1968.

I guess cops have to have something to do when they're not home beating their wives or driving 90 mph in a neighborhood taking the kids to soccer practice.

 
chris28_17
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 5:18 am

yeah dude, i'll help you out... i have a brain full of things to say and if you want me to write like a 2 page article or something, hit me up, i'm a really decent writer and can make our case sound pretty good

take it easy..

chris

chris28_17@hotmail.com
 
LOT767-300ER
Topic Author
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 1:10 pm

Chris i appreciate that thanx mate.
 
EGFF
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 7:25 pm

Just backing up 737heavy, considering LHR is a massive airport spotting there as not a problem, you can walk around the whole vacinity of the airport and there are police everywhere driving around but nothing is said. You can also get quite close to aircraft which is a good thing, no problems here  Smile
EGFF
All together or not at all
 
qantas744
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RE: Almost Got Arrested While Spotting By ORD.

Wed Jun 26, 2002 11:57 pm

LHR police don't like step ladders against the fence, and will move you on if you don't do what they say. But as a general rule if they want you to stop what you are doing they will do so without being confrontational.

Matt
you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll

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