PHX787
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Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:30 am

Hey guys,

Apologies for multiple posts but I've been getting into this spotting stuff recently,

Yesterday at Sky Harbor I went to a spotting location shown on the PHXSpotter's website and got some really good shots, as planes were landing directly over my head. However, A passing police truck scared me away from the spot. I packed up quickly and drove off and circled around to see a police SUV at the spot and the police truck outside the perimeter fence. I drove off and home without further conflict, as I didn't want to engage the police.

let's say I go back to the spot again, lets say at a different spot, the police stop and confront me. What do you think they'll do, and what should I say to ensure them I mean no harm?

I know the police obviously have the final say but in most cases, photography isn't a crime, right?
Thanks for your insight,

Z
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nssd70
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:50 am

Just because the police drive by doesn't mean you have to leave. Here at Des Moines I've had several police stop to see what I was doing,and after telling and showing them what I was doing they told me to have fun and they left.

Doug
 
PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:53 am

Quoting nssd70 (Reply 1):
Just because the police drive by doesn't mean you have to leave. Here at Des Moines I've had several police stop to see what I was doing,and after telling and showing them what I was doing they told me to have fun and they left.

I see, maybe I made myself suspicious when I drove off scared yesterday.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:19 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 2):
I see, maybe I made myself suspicious when I drove off scared yesterday.

Maybe, maybe not. The important thing to keep in mind is that you're (probably) not doing anything illegal (assuming you're not trespassing or anything). They can ask you to leave, and it's probably a good idea to do as they say, but they won't be arresting you or anything. So just stay calm, go about your business, answer their questions if they ask any, etc....

I was taking long exposures of airplanes taking off from LAX from the beach one night. Not entirely sure if the beach is technically closed at that time or not (also not sure if you're supposed to have a tripod on the beach without a permit...), but anyway. I was standing there taking an exposure, and a beach patrol car drove up. He rolled down his window and said, "what you up to, bro?" I said, "just taking some long exposures." He paused, said "cool" in a kind-of-confused voice, and drove off.

Only harm done was I had to start the exposure over due to his headlights.
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jelpee
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:27 am

As long as you are not tresspassing, there would be no basis for an arrest. However, I'm sure they could make life miserable by dragging you in for questioning. I've found that being cooerative (vs. confrontational), respectful and courteous goes a long way to preserve goodwill. Also helps if you have a monopod/tripod, long lens and other photo-gear to establish your bona fides  

Jehan
 
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eksath
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:36 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 2):
I see, maybe I made myself suspicious when I drove off scared yesterday.

That is entirely possible. Law enforcement is trained to watch for behavior patterns and other visual cues. If you appeared "spooked" by the police vehicles, it was probably noticed. It is best to carry on with normal LEGAL activity as opposed to evasive actions which will only incur further interrogations/pursuit etc.

If this was the case, I will tell you that they will probably be watching out for your vehicle and description next time. However, as long as you are not breaking the law, you have nothing to fear. Just be honest with the police of your intent.There is a lot of people taking pictures of aircraft, you should not have to stop your hobby.
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PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:53 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 5):
That is entirely possible. Law enforcement is trained to watch for behavior patterns and other visual cues. If you appeared "spooked" by the police vehicles, it was probably noticed. It is best to carry on with normal LEGAL activity as opposed to evasive actions which will only incur further interrogations/pursuit etc.

Yeah there were two cars there yesterday when I drove off and they were looking around.

Interesting update today: I drove by there to find a different place for the 747 takeoff, and saw a car parked there with people standing around, and 2 police officers out of their cars, with their cameras pointed down the runway...turns out one of the officers is a spotter. They let me film it today and asked me how it turned out afterwards....pretty interesting.
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alevik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:26 am

Next time, please don't drive off. I frequent PHX and am also a member of the newly formed airport watch there. As noted, your behavior would be considered suspicious.

I have been approached by TSA, police and the rent a cops in T3 and T4 at PHX. Only the rent a cop ever said that (at T4) I wasn't allowed to take photos. I politely asked him to call the police, who showed up, chatted with me, and then let me be. There are very few locations at PHX you cannot be, one is near the fuel farm. Otherwise, when the police come by, chat with them. The worst than can happen is they ask you to move from a certain spot. By talking with them you help continue building the relationship between spotters and law enforcement at PHX. I'm sure as you noted you will actually find yourself talking about photography and aircraft, as I often end up doing at T3.
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Flyingfox27
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:28 am

When i go to Heathrow this Saturday, i would expect extra security at Myrtle Avenue but as long as i am calm and co operative they should let me take photos still while the Olympics are on, after all, a hobby shouldnt be suspended until its passed because not everyone wants to sit at home watching people compete.

Probably less chance at Myrtle Avenue but spots like Esso Garage and the field mound near 09L might be patrolled more by police but hopefully you dont get any ones with a power trip.
 
PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:51 am

Quoting alevik (Reply 7):
Next time, please don't drive off. I frequent PHX and am also a member of the newly formed airport watch there. As noted, your behavior would be considered suspicious.

Yeah my apologies. I didn't converse with the cops today but apparently the other people there did talk to the cops, but the cops were simply asking when the 747 was taking off.
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aerorobnz
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:44 am

I have had police visit me at many airports all over the states, It is no big deal. Of course they ask questions, but give a straight answer and follow instructions and they are fine. It's the TSA and rentacops that are the stupid idiots.

I have had the TSA call the cops on me, and the cop came over for a chat and apologised for their behaviour and said that he didn't care but that he had to be seen to "follow up". He wished me a
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Moose135
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RE: Police And Spotters

Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:55 pm

I've spoken with members of at least 8 or 10 police departments, plus the FBI in the course of my spotting activities, and I've almost never had a problem. Most of the time it's because some "concerned citizen" called - you know the whole "if you see something, say something" nonsense, but it's usually ends up being a friendly conversation, maybe checking my ID, and then back to spotting.

The last time I was actually asked to move along was 6 years ago, we were on airport property at JFK, in a parking lot marked for employees (but without gates or anything else to keep out the limo and delivery truck drivers who parked there while waiting for their trips) and it was 3 days after they arrested the "liquid bombers" in the UK, so the police were a little edgy. And even that encounter went from "The days of taking pictures of airplanes are over..." to "Give it a couple of weeks, guys..." after a friendly conversation.

Just be respectful and professional, and don't look like you are trying to hide something, and you should have no problems.
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PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:20 am

Looks like I had another run in at PHX today. After filming BA289 land at the employee lot area, I saw a truck with the PHX logo on it circle around the corner of the service road, stay and watch me while I snapped more photos, then leave. About 5 minutes later a police officer came, told me that the area was closed and that I had to leave. I told him that I was there yesterday filming and he said "Well we normally don't enforce it, but whenever someone from Aviation calls we gotta come over here and kick you guys out."

"aviation" he said, does that mean the PHX airport board??   

Anyway, what do you guys (especially alevik) think of it?
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megatop412
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:38 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 12):
Anyway, what do you guys (especially alevik) think of it?

I would have walked right over to that truck and said "what's up, fellas- you know what special paints might be coming in today?"

That either would have disarmed them or led to nothing worse than what you actually had to deal with.
 
darreno1
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:38 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 12):
Anyway, what do you guys (especially alevik) think of it?

Sounds like the cop was being honest. It's not that unusual for airport personel or even overly paranoid people to call the authorities. Why not join the airport watch there?

[Edited 2012-07-24 18:39:30]
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vikkyvik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:10 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 12):
After filming BA289 land at the employee lot area

I don't know anything about PHX, but is that a public area?
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PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:33 am

Quoting darreno1 (Reply 14):
Sounds like the cop was being honest. It's not that unusual for airport personel or even overly paranoid people to call the authorities. Why not join the airport watch there?

Well how would I get involved with that? I did a bit of searching and couldn't find much.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 15):
I don't know anything about PHX, but is that a public area?

There really isn't anything too obvious, like, HND, NRT, CVG, for example, but people would often take photos from the garage. I usually go to the old employee lot where I was shooed away from today or the dust road by the Northeast corner of the airfield.
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Quoting megatop412 (Reply 13):
I would have walked right over to that truck and said "what's up, fellas- you know what special paints might be coming in today?"

I was tempted to but they had their windows tightly sealed and were a bit away from me.

Do you think they may have been alarmed by my tripod too?

[Edited 2012-07-24 20:34:38]
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alevik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:23 am

Not sure what employee lot you were in. There are very few places at PHX where you will get kicked out of, you must have found one. The one I know of for certain is the fuel farm vicinity, on the north side of runway 26 east end. "Aviation" is Aviation Operations, the truck you saw before the police came. In this case, you just move on to another spot.

Generally the outlying areas are more of an issue as there is less traffic and coverage by security cameras. If you are on T2/T3/T4 you are being watched by cameras. The exception to this is the 44 Street location on the south east side, but the ops guys will drive by every so often to see who is out there. Never had an issue at that spot.

If you are interested in airport watch, go to the phx spotters website forums ( http://phxspotters.com/forums/index.php ) and check it out. There is a subforum for the Airport Watch, though you may have to sign up for the forums to access it. Phxspotters is a small but active group, probably worth your while to meet some of the regulars, they can sure assist. Quite a few are airport employees for one of the airlines.
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kl692
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:59 am

Very interesting topic, I had a police a officer who was just driving by and happen to see me here at CYYZ while waiting for arrival of ET502 this morning.

Officer; Do you ID on you?
ME: NO
Officer: where are you park?
ME: across the Street
Officer: Can you get ur id from your car?
ME: why would like to see my ID officer?
Officer: Well this is the Airport
ME: Yes I know this is the airport, I come here all the time. Officers and Airport Security come by all the time without a problem. The only time they stop is if we are parked on the side of the road and ask us to move. I am not doing anything against the law here officer.
Officer: I understand, what do you do this for?
ME: It is a hobby Ma'am, you can check Airliners.net for some of my work and others.
Officer: OK, you have a good time then.
And off she goes and I was rewarded with some pretty good head on shot of ET 777 as he was told to go all the way to the end of the runway before exiting and it came right at me. "Pride Of Africa" looks really good up front.

Anyways, the point here is don't be afraid of the cops, as longs as you know you are not doing anything wrong or in a place where you are not to be, you are ok. I have question by the cops many times and never did get kick out or anything like that. And also, when they keep seeing you around, they don't bother you anymore as they already know who you are. Trust me this officer that approach me today was a street cop and at the end of the day, she left me be even though I was pissed off for the way she started the conversation with me.

Cheers and Enjoying doing what you love doing without fear of the cops.

P.S. The only time you see a lots of cops around CYYZ is when ELY is about to land.
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PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:01 am

Quoting alevik (Reply 17):
Generally the outlying areas are more of an issue as there is less traffic and coverage by security cameras. If you are on T2/T3/T4 you are being watched by cameras. The exception to this is the 44 Street location on the south east side, but the ops guys will drive by every so often to see who is out there. Never had an issue at that spot.
Quoting alevik (Reply 17):
Not sure what employee lot you were in. There are very few places at PHX where you will get kicked out of, you must have found one. The one I know of for certain is the fuel farm vicinity, on the north side of runway 26 east end. "Aviation" is Aviation Operations, the truck you saw before the police came. In this case, you just move on to another spot.

The spot I was in was at the north end of Sky Harbor Circle near 24th street. There was a myriad of people there on the 24th to watch BA288 depart over our heads, along with police officers. When I was spotting today I saw a few security cameras set up there.
Alevik- quick spotting question: where's a good place to see planes landing to the east on 7R? Seems like the cargo jets like that runway and I've been having a problem finding a good place to spot. Also thanks for the info on the airport watch; I'll check it out when I get back from Japan. I'm a member on the PHX forums, just not too active.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:35 pm

Quoting kl692 (Reply 18):
I was rewarded with some pretty good head
Quoting kl692 (Reply 18):
and it came right at me

  

That is all.
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alevik
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:50 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 19):
Alevik- quick spotting question: where's a good place to see planes landing to the east on 7R? Seems like the cargo jets like that runway and I've been having a problem finding a good place to spot. Also thanks for the info on the airport watch; I'll check it out when I get back from Japan. I'm a member on the PHX forums, just not too active.

The only spot I know of is the 44th street location, good in evenings only. Suggest you go on the forums and ask some of the guys who are there more frequently than I am.
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Tonyholt777
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:50 pm

Interesting thread

Agree that the best approach is always honesty and dialoge with police/security. I guess there's a misconception that all officers/empowered staff actually know what they are talking about in the first instance. I've spent a considerable time in law enforcement and trust me it doesn't always follow.

In the UK we are in the throws of the pre-Olympics and another debacle of badly contracted security services for a major event, no doubt people will have bad and good experiences trying to get that special photo.

I always carry my id plus a 'know the facts' card issued by the Royal Society of Photographers. The first point reminds me that "every person has a right to photograph in a public place", the test remains what is a public place? There's a lot of UK specific stuff and it helps if you are stopped and unsure. Certainly in the UK police must provide you with a copy of the Stop & Search form and cannot delete images.

However, it is a central tennet of policing that officers have a duty to investigate incidents which may give rise to suspicion.

Agree fully

Quoting alevik (Reply 7):

Next time, please don't drive off. I frequent PHX and am also a member of the newly formed airport watch there. As noted, your behavior would be considered suspicious.

T
 
kl692
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:24 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 20):
Quoting kl692 (Reply 18):
I was rewarded with some pretty good head
Quoting kl692 (Reply 18):
and it came right at me



That is all

You had to eh! LMAO
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turkishraf
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RE: Police And Spotters

Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:20 pm

A police officer had a chat with me on a rainy day at heathrow en route to Myrtle avenue. Very polite, super professional. Could not have asked for a more professional experience. This guy knew what spotters were looking for and was just checking that I was a spotter.

But I must admit that in feel safer in the UK where I am a citizen and know the law, rather than the US, where I know that I am a guest in the country. I am off to LAS BOS and possible SFO in November for work, and am not sure where or whether to spot.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Police And Spotters

Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:17 am

A couple of months ago, I headed over to one of our favorite spotting locations, in a shopping center parking lot near JFK. There was a police car parked there, with a supervisor doing his paperwork. I took out my camera, walked around the front of the patrol car so he could see me coming, and told him I was going to do a little spotting. He said "That's fine, I know you guys like to shoot from here." I told him I just wanted to give him a heads up, in case they got any calls. He said "Thanks, I appreciate that!"
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comairguycvg
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RE: Police And Spotters

Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:23 am

Just tell the police there is something called the First Amendment and freedom of the press.
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Tomskii
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RE: Police And Spotters

Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:13 pm

Never had any trouble with police at BRU unless I was on a place where I shouldn't have been (aka a sand pit which the gate is not closed well off but it states it's private property). But I remained calmed, showed the rather unfriendly police officer what I was doing there and he let me off with a warning.

Key to those incidents is staying friendly without becoming arrogant.
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megatop412
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RE: Police And Spotters

Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:14 pm

Quoting turkishraf (Reply 24):
But I must admit that in feel safer in the UK where I am a citizen and know the law, rather than the US, where I know that I am a guest in the country. I am off to LAS BOS and possible SFO in November for work, and am not sure where or whether to spot.

Please let us know if you ever find yourself in the NYC area, there are more than a few that would be happy to show you around the spots for JFK(and tell you where you can get the best pizza, although there is not as much consensus about that)
 
Bluewave 707
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RE: Police And Spotters

Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:35 pm

At HNL, some private security (labeled "Airport Police") officers and Hawaii State Sheriff's Dept. deputies will look us off, while others stop. I just show them my ID and photographer's permit ... most are cool about it ...
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xaapb
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RE: Police And Spotters

Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:39 pm

I've been asked what was I doing in McAllen airport and IAH some years ago, just explained them this was a hobby, show them my passport, they verified some stuff in their computer and the told me If I could show them some pictures, very friendly and very kind.

As stated above never be afraid of cops, I belive that most of the time they are 99% friendly not to mentioned so professional and they understand what we are doing is nothing ilegal and it's just a hobby!
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KPWMSpotter
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RE: Police And Spotters

Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:25 pm

Quoting turkishraf (Reply 24):
I am off to LAS BOS and possible SFO in November for work, and am not sure where or whether to spot.

Be careful at BOS; the Terminal B parking garage is a great spot, but is owned by the quasi-governmental agency "MassPort", who reserves the right to restrict (and does restrict) photography. In this case you are on private property and the State Troopers will ask you to move along. Photography is acceptable if you contact MassPort in advance, there are a couple threads here with details.

I have been stopped at various airports, and even though the State Troopers had every right to kick me out at BOS, they were by-far the friendliest officers I've encountered. The trooper even suggested that I take a few last pics while he jotted down some notes in his car. I've had encounters with the TSA and DHS at PWM, as well as a Sherriff in DAB; in both of those cases I had written permission from the airport to take photos. Even though I was permitted to stay, those cases were both rather hostile. Police officers don't tend to like to be told that they are wrong...

My advice to all spotters: If you're somewhere you shouldn't be, leave, don't give us all a bad name. If you're somewhere that's public and perfectly legal, stand your ground, be polite but firm with any officers, but don't start an argument. Sometimes it's best to call it a day or move to a different spot to avoid making a scene, but don't let that deter you in the future.
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JohnJ
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RE: Police And Spotters

Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:34 pm

From Massport's web site:

Guidelines. Photography and filming for non-commercial purposes is allowed on those portions of Massport properties open to the public, subject to the following:

a. As part of Massport’s efforts to provide for the safety and security of the users of its facilities, Photography may prompt law enforcement officers or Massport personnel to approach you and ask you questions. If, as a result, a law enforcement officer determines that there is reasonable suspicion or probable cause that you are engaged in or about to engage in criminal activity, you may be subject to search of your person or property, detention, arrest or other such law enforcement action as is appropriate under the circumstances.

Photography shouldn't require permission at BOS, but Massport police seem to think otherwise and chances of a hassle there are excellent if you don't have written permission. Media relations at BOS seems to go out of their way to help photographers, but be aware should you seek photography permission (and it's a good idea to do so) they like lots of advance notice.

Link to Massport site containing their photo policy:

http://www.massport.com/news-room/Pa...mmercialPhotographyGuidelines.aspx
 
darthluke12694
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RE: Police And Spotters

Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:40 pm

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 31):
If you're somewhere that's public and perfectly legal, stand your ground, be polite but firm with any officers, but don't start an argument. Sometimes it's best to call it a day or move to a different spot to avoid making a scene, but don't let that deter you in the future.

I would like to add that sometimes it's best to call it a day if a police officer is asking you to leave a perfectly legal place, BUT write down the officers name and maybe a badge number, then call either airport police or city police (whoever stopped you) and tell them about the situation and that it is perfectly legal to be there. When you call, and if they agree wih you, ask them for their name and then if another officer stops you again, tell them that (name) says it was ok to be here.
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PHX787
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RE: Police And Spotters

Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:51 am

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 32):

At least they have guidelines. If you simply comply therefore with the search you shouldn't have any issues.
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Bluewave 707
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RE: Police And Spotters

Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:13 am

The great thing about smartphones are that we can show law enforcement personnel our photos right then and there ...
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JohnJ
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RE: Police And Spotters

Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:01 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 34):
At least they have guidelines. If you simply comply therefore with the search you shouldn't have any issues.

The problem is, even though Massport prints this policy on their web site, chances are near 100% you'll be kicked off (or worse) the Terminal B garage if Massport or state police sees you up there and you don't have the "special permission" from Massport media relations. Also, according to these guidelines, they can search you only if they suspect you have committed or are about to commit a crime. Taking a picture in and of itself doesn't constitute probable cause of criminal activity.

Again, I applaud Massport for having a policy like this - it's the enforcement aspect of it I have a problem with. The policy is in sharp contrast to NY Port Authority's policy, which basically forbids photography on their property. As bad as that policy is, at least you know where you stand with them. They forbid photography, and will take action against you if they catch you. In Boston, they don't forbid photography but will still take action against you if they catch you.

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