hate to bother the room with this but something cute happened at a fire the other day. i was ordered to stop taking pictuires at a fire by a cop who asked why i was taking pictures of a fire? later when i had moved to where she told me to i was taking more pictures when she told me again to move on so she would not have to arrest me for obstruction. i'm only asking because i'm not sure if any laws had changed. (seriously)- i'm really not sure, because (post 9-11) i'm not sure if some laws had been changed and i somehow missed it

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Actually i aint stirrin nothing, if you read it clearly i stated there is no law about this, and that if you are asked to move to a specific area then you must do so, and that you cannot get in trouble for pictures and videos. BY THE WAY. I am a FEDERAL POLICE OFFICER working in Columbia SC, as my Day Job....
I live near where the now infamous "Randolph bail out" happened. As such, the area departments have cracked down on any sort of recording devices at any scene. Here's how it's turned out so far. Keep in mind, none of these have to do with laws but more policies of your own department.
First, if you are on scene as emergency personnel, and you are taking pictures, those pictures can automatically become property of your department (even if they're taken with your own personal camera) they are considered a form of documentation. furthermore, your entire camera can be subpoenaed at a later date. Nothing like your camera phone pictures blown up poster sized in open court to keep people from snapping photos.
Secondly, my department is instituting a policy that if you are taking photos without authorization, you will no longer be considered emergency personnel and will be removed from the scene back behind the police lines with the civilians.

Again, these are not laws around here (that I know of).
Very strong word.

Vic, now that you live in Australia I think you should try again with the police. Unless NSW is VERY different to Victoria you should find things a lot better than your memories.
WestPhilly,

Maybe hate is too strong a word. How about "I no longer have any use for them"? The cops I know are good guys in a crap situation. The politicians have figured out that the police are actually a revenue source, so they've become a "protection" racket with traffic enforcement (no, I have no points on my licence and haven't gotten a ticket in years). When I lived in Virginia, I had a suntan from all the radars pointed at me, the cops routinely set up BS "gotcha" traffic stops, and even went into restaurants to arrest patrons (against the owners will) for public drunkenness! I caught a couple kids breaking into my car and 911 told me there were no units available, there were all out on traffic!

Any time I deal with them outside (and even sometimes with) the fire department, they are arrogant jerks. I watch them violate peoples rights, threaten, bully and intimidate people who don't know any better, then lie thier asses off in court about it.

I have no idea why things have gone this way. I appreciate that the police have arguably the worst job in the world. I have no envy for the BS they deal with, but the hyper-aggressive, free ass-kicking with arrest, unaccountable nature of modern policing is not the answer. Hell, watch that TV show COPS. Look at the older seasons versus recent stuff, you can see a real change in the way they deal with people. Maybe it's just good television, but I swear when I was a kid (and even a young adult) the SWAT team was a rare event and the cops weren't a militarised occupation force...and this was during the crack rage of the 1980s!
NSW aren't nearly as bad as back home. They've done such a massive hire in the past few years that most of them are kids with only a year or two on. I have seen some of their senior guys (inspectors and superintendents) do stuff that amazed me for their calm professional nature. In the US the same action would have resulted in a shooting.

Still - I am constantly RBT'd and speed checked...now ask me about their response the two times my house got broken into! They can make plenty of time for traffic, but there's no money in stopping home invasion.
I of course have no idea what they did about you house being broken into - perhaps they are searching, using data gained from both your house and others? And it's a bit hard to stop that sort of thing until they capture the culprits and gain a conviction. Now, thefts from houses don't result in deaths very often, speed and alcohol do - all the time.
i want to again thank everyone for their input on this subject and to address some questions. i was at home and saw the smoke. flipped on the scanner and went to it. got there and got three pictures taken when the cop stopped me and told me i cannot take pictures then escoretd me out. at no time was i in the action area and there was no fire line established. she did ask me if i was a firefighter and i told her i was retired. she asked me to stay in a specific area and i did. i moved to the side outside of the action area then she threatened me with arrest.(when that happened i was using a telephoto and about 50 yards from the nearest quint). it was at that time it was clear to me that it was more of a case of "contempt of cop than obstruction"...someone wrote that i should not be taking pictures at someone elses fire if it was not my department. WHAT??? since when is fire photography restricted by whos fire it is? if that was true i would have never shot any of the pictures i have goten in NY, Boston, Philly, DC, or anywhere else. this was the first time in 30 years i have been stopped from taking pictures. i have done some reasearch on this subject and discovered a wealth of it online. i cant believe the balls on some cops that they actually stopped some people clearly within their rights to take a picture from a sidewalk at a fire, accident or police operation and violate their rights by the threat of arrest. not wanting to cause a panic amoung my fellow fireshooters but this seems to be an epidemic amoung law enforrcement. if it happens again, and i'm behind established fire lines or way out of the danger zone, i'm gonna make my displeasure know to law enforcement administration. check out the videos yourself troops. i can justify what i do as evidenced by being published in the past. i wonder what justification law enforcement will have for me for what they did. agan to everyone that responded...THANK YOU so much. the responses pro and con were read, accepted and welcomed
agree, strong words buddy. law enforcement had a diffciult job in mostly dangerous situations. i support them but expect them to perform professionally, after all they have the power to kill and deprive people of their freedom. when i finished the police academy i remember a speech about why cops are issued badges. the badge is a gift to the officer from the public as a open symbol of PUBLIC TRUST. the person behind it is supposoed to enforce the law with equality and fairness with no reguard at any time to any personal predidjuces
little confusing at the end please claraify, your department can stop you from taking pictures at a fire when you are off duty? ON DUTY i can see, you should not be taking pictures while working anyway unless its an authorized helmet cam, you need to do the job and leave the picture taking to others but off duty is my time and as long as you are not interfering with operations, to bad unles you are prevented from doing so because you're an employee..the radical side of me would ask what's the charge/harm for taking a picture at a fire off duty? if they say injury what happens if i get hurt washing a car off duty?
Co-sign on that!
Get a telephoto zoom lens. A long one and do what you do.

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