In response to an incident involving a news cameraman being wrongfully arrested in August, the Suffolk County Police Department held a media relations lecture for its officers this week at the Suffolk County Community College Brentwood Campus.
Penny Parrish, an instructor from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, spoke about media relation basics and gave a detailed lecture on procedures and protocol to follow at all levels of enforcement.
Parrish, who was a longtime reporter and public information officer in Minneapolis, said, just an awareness of cameras, and understanding there is a difference between the legacy media and social media and how to use and benefit from each one is helpful.
From communicating with the department’s public information office to dealing with external crises with social media and building helpful relationships with the press, Parrish touched on many issues that have developed across the country between law enforcement and the media.
On an officer level I think it’s important, she said.
Last month, Phil Datz, a news cameraman from Long Island, was arrested while filming the aftermath of a police chase from across the street from the incident on public property with other civilians standing next to him.
The Press Club of Long Island issued a statement demanding the charges be dropped and training be improved by the Suffolk County Police. The Press Club hosted a police and the press panel discussion shortly after.
The Suffolk County Police Department is committed to working with the media to keep the community we serve informed, said Suffolk County
Police Deputy Chief Christopher Bergold. We will be looking to do more of this and increase training in the future.