Having taken 4 or 5 years off from spotting, I attempted to revive my interest in this hobby last evening along the 30L arrival just inside Fort Snelling State Park. After photographing 3 arrivals, I was approached by an Airport Police Officer. He immediately asked me to leave the area, describing my photography as "suspicious." When I asked if aviation photography was illegal at this location, he stated that "it makes pilots nervous." He asked me to leave again, at which point I asked what law or ordinance I was violating. He had no answer, but was clearly very irritated with me in voice and body posture. As he was walking back to his cruiser, he said, "You keep taking pictures, but if I have to come back here to investigate a suspicious persons report, you are going to face some consequences." I photographed one more arrival, and walked back down the hill to my car. You'll have to take my word that I was very polite with him through the entire encounter.
I did collect the officer's name and badge number, and have drafted a constructive letter to the Airport Police Department asking for clarification about spotting in this location. Should I mail the letter? Will this only add fuel to the fire? I recognize there are other spotters at MSP
, and I do not want to further jeopardize positive working relationships they may have with the police.
When I formerly spotted at this location, the police would stop to ask a few questions, but would move along. Have things changed this much in 4 years? Am I missing some law or ordinance that prohibits photography?