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
As past fireman and current fire scene photographer, there is a lot lot of bad information and advice being given on this topic by either people who think they know the rules, or they like to interpret things their own way.
Police officers, nor fire chiefs may take your equipment nor your film or data cards. Shooting fire scenes, accident scenes or even police scenes is not illegal when they are happening in the public. Meaning, not on private property. You can shoot a incident on private property as long as your not on the said property, shooting from out on the street etc. If their emerency happens in public, they rae fair game for photos to be taken of them. With that said, if the officer in chare, be it cop or fireman decides to hang the yellow tape setting up "their scene". you must remian behind the tape unless invited past it as I have that priviledge granted to me very often, seldom am I held back.
Your civil rights guarantee you the right to take any pictures you want in public, the police officer or fire officer can not afford the lawsuit to them and thier department if they violate this right of yours. The individual may be held liable personally. Normally they dont know that and once you explain it to them, nicely of course, they will back off. If not, comply with their orders to move and file lawsuit against them the next day, but NEVER NEVER EVER give them your camera or pictures. Once gone, they are gone.
Recently I shot a fire, and the link attached to this is the result of me paying attention on the scene, as well as the fire and police offering me the courtesy to shoot their scenes, one arsonist is arrested and possibly going back to prison for another decade or two like he already did for arson. Courtesy goes both ways though, respect the scene, the firemen, the cops and even the public and you will get it in return. Some poeple will complain about what you do, but they are a minority and who really cares about the minority anyway?
Where did this occur? Were you impeding operations? If not, and you weren't in a restricted area (read: behind the fire line tape), then I don't think the police officer had the right or obligation to tell you to stop. However, there's a lot of information missing from your post.