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Rules Governing Issuance of Press Passes

The rules and guidelines governing the issuance of media (press) passes in the District of Columbia are codified in the Title 24 of the DC Municipal Regulations. They are as follows:

TITLE 24. PUBLIC SPACE AND SAFETY 
CHAPTER 21. POLICE AND FIRE EMERGENCIES
CDCR 24-2102 (2009)

24-2102. POLICE PRESS PASSES.

2102.1 The Metropolitan Police Department shall issue all press passes or credentials without regard to the content of the news coverage. Press passes shall be issued as expeditiously as possible.

2102.2 Each pass shall be signed by the Chief of Police.

2102.3 Passes shall be in the form and number approved by the Chief of Police.

2102.4 REPEALED. [52 DCR 2296 (March 11, 2005)]

2102.5 Passes issued under the provisions of this section shall be valid for the period of time stated on the face of the pass.

2102.6 No police press pass shall be valid for more than one (1) year.

2102.7 Passes shall expire not later than December 31st of each year, but may be renewed on the condition that the expired pass issued for the preceding months shall be surrendered with the request for renewal.

2102.8 A press pass shall be plainly exposed to view whenever the person to whom it is issued uses it.

2102.9 Passes issued to individuals shall not be transferable.

2102.10 Each person to whom a press pass is issued shall agree in writing to assume all risks incident to the use of the pass, to comply promptly with any reasonable direction of any member of the Metropolitan Police Department, and to conduct himself or herself in a manner that does not interfere with, hinder, or obstruct any authorized person engaged in preserving the peace, maintaining order, and protecting life and property.

2102.11 On and after December 31, 1983, an annual fee of ten dollars ($ 10) shall be imposed on each police press pass issued or renewed pursuant to this section.

2102.12 The Mayor may amend the amount of fee imposed under § 2102.11 on press passes issued or renewed to reflect an amount that, in the Mayor's judgment, will defray the approximate costs to the District of the issuance or renewal of the passes.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: D.C. Code § 5-331.14

History of Regulations since Last Compilation (December 1996):

June 27, 2008 2102.1 amended at 55 DCR 7086 by the Metropolitan Police Department

March 11, 2005 2102.3 amended, 2102.4 repealed at 52 DCR 2296 by D.C. Act 15-757

CDCR 24-2103 (2009)

24-2103. APPLICATION PROCEDURES.

2103.1 The Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department is authorized to issue press passes to bona fide media representatives of print, electronic or online, university or college, television, radio, and newsreel media who gather information or pictures for distribution or broadcast to the public as news. Media representatives include self-employed or freelance writers / journalists who regularly gather news.

2103.2 Press passes shall be issued in a form approved by the Chief of Police or his or her designee and shall be valid for two years. Holders of expired press passes shall surrender them upon issuance of new passes. The Chief of Police or his or her designee may withhold the issuance of a press pass to any person convicted of a felony, a crime of violence as defined in D.C. Official Code § 23-1331 (4), or a crime of moral turpitude, if such withholding is based on a reasonable belief the person would be disruptive or will use the press pass for an unlawful purpose. The Chief of Police or his or her designee shall inform the applicant in writing of the basis for any denial of a press pass. An applicant may appeal the denial of the issuance of a press pass to the Chief of Police.

2103.3 An application for a police press pass shall include a statement that the holder of a press pass:

(a) assumes all risks incident to the use of the pass;

(b) will obey all lawful orders and directions of any member of the Metropolitan Police Department; and

(c) will comport himself or herself in a manner that does not interfere with, hinder, or obstruct any authorized person engaged in preserving the peace, maintaining order, and protecting life and property. Nothing in this section shall constitute a waiver or release of any claim the holder of a press pass may have for harm or injury intentionally or negligently caused to such person. Any conflicts or disagreements with such orders or directions shall be resolved through consultation with the Metropolitan Police Department's Director of the Office of Public Information or his or her designee.

2103.4 A person displaying a valid press pass shall not be arrested or taken into custody at the scene of a First Amendment assembly or other news event in the absence of probable cause for the arrest. A person displaying a valid press pass shall not be arrested merely because he or she is in an area where other people have committed criminal acts or are being arrested.

2103.5 A press pass issued pursuant to this section automatically expires upon the holder's termination of employment or occupation as a media representative. Upon such expiration, the holder shall immediately surrender the pass to the Metropolitan Police Department Office of Public Information or to his or her employer, who shall forward the press pass to the Office of Public Information.

2103.6 Press passes shall not be transferable.

2103.7 Pursuant to this section, the Chief of Police, upon a showing of good cause, shall have the authority to limit the total number of press passes issued to media representatives and organizations for an event.

24-2104. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

2104.1 A media representative displaying a press pass is authorized to enter designated areas, set aside by members of the Metropolitan Police Department, for the purpose of gathering, photographing or reporting news events. The holder of a press pass is not required to remain in any such designated area and may not be restricted from any area open to the general public or any area open to participants in a First Amendment assembly.

2104.2 The holder of a press pass is authorized to cross a police or fire line, unless, in the judgment of a Metropolitan Police Department officer or official, to do so would interfere with the management of a police or fire scene or would endanger the public safety.

2104.3 Possession of a press pass does not authorize the holder to enter a private building or private property that may be located within a police or fire line.

2104.4 MPD officers shall allow media representatives reasonable access to all areas where a First Amendment assembly is occurring. At a minimum, officers shall allow media representatives no less access than that enjoyed by members of the general public. Unless inconsistent with public safety considerations, officers shall allow media representatives access to areas closed to the general public in order to assist their ability to report on such an event. Officers shall also make reasonable accommodations to allow media representatives effectively to use photographic, video, or other equipment relating to their reporting of a First Amendment assembly.

2104.5 The Chief of Police or his or her designee shall accept or honor a press pass issued to a media representative by a local, state or federal governmental body within or outside the District of Columbia. The holder of such a press pass shall enjoy the same rights and privileges as if the pass were issued directly by the Chief of Police.

2104.6 It is the policy of the Metropolitan Police Department that media representatives shall have maximum access to First Amendment assemblies, fires, crime scenes, weather-related events, accidents and other news events, consistent with maintaining public safety and the management of a police or fire scene.

2104.7 The commanding officer at the scene of a First Amendment assembly or other news event, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Public Information, shall ensure that the policy set forth in subsection 2104.6 and the applicable provisions of these regulations are carried out.

2104.8 Press passes and credentials shall be plainly exposed to view whenever the persons to whom they are issued are using them.

2104.9 The Chief of Police shall appoint an advisory committee composed of representatives of the media, universities and colleges, which may make recommendations concerning the implementation of these rules.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: D.C. Code § 5-331.14

History of Regulations since Last Compilation (December 1996):

June 27, 2008 2104 to 2104.9 new at 55 DCR 7086 by the Metropolitan Police Department