Information made available to the public regarding
incidents and issues shall be provided to the news media on a timely basis.
RELEASE OF INFORMATION
A. Police Investigations or Operations
1. The officer in charge (OIC) at a crime
scene or newsworthy event, or a department-designated
spokesperson, is responsible for
providing available information to accredited news media representatives.
2. The OIC may release the following routine information:
a. The classification of the case (e.g.,
homicide, natural death, robbery, burglary, sexual abuse, etc.);
b. Time of occurrence;
c. General information about the case (e.g.,
armed suspect entered the bank and fled with an
undisclosed amount of money, victim was assaulted
by an unknown male following an argument, a woman
was sexually assaulted in Waikiki, hikers reported
finding human remains near trail, etc.);
d. General, biographical data on the suspect
(e.g., sex, age, and area of residence).
NOTE: The suspect’s name shall not be released
until he or she is charged, except as provided
in Policy 5.08, PUBLIC ACCESS TO ARREST LOGS.
The suspect’s prior arrest history shall not be released;
e. Time and place of arrest; and
f. Custody status of a suspect (e.g., bail;
bond; released on own recognizance; and time,
date, and place of arraignment or court appearance),
3. Confidential information shall not be released.
This includes the following:
a. Direct or circumstantial evidence implicating a suspect;
b. Existence or contents of a confession, admission,
or statement given by a suspect;
c. A suspect’s refusal to give a statement;
d. The results of any examination, interrogation,
or test administered to a suspect;
e. A suspect’s refusal to submit to an examination, interrogation, or test;
f. The identity, testimony, or credibility of any
prospective or confidential witness;
g. The identity or statement of a police informant; and
h. The identity of a victim.
4. Division-level commanders, their designees, or a department-designated spokesperson shall respond to routine inquiries and release follow
up information pertinent to investigations or operations
within their area of responsibility.
a. It may be necessary or advisable under
certain circumstances to temporarily withhold
information or facts that can reasonably be
expected to interfere with a criminal investigation.
For example, these may include (1) a victim’s identity,
(2) the exact nature of the injury, (3) the weapon
used or suspected, (4) a suspect’s known or possible
motive and/or whereabouts, (5) details of monetary loss,
(6) cause or reason for the incident, etc.
b. All requests for information related
to any investigation referred to a basic
support unit (as described in Policy 4.29,
CRIME SCENE: INVESTIGATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
AND PROCEDURES) shall be directed to that unit.
B. Departmental Policy or Administration
1. The Chief of Police or a designee shall
be the spokesperson on matters relating to
departmental policy or administration.
2. A media liaison can be contacted directly
or via the Communications Division to
guidance or assistance in all matters relating to
the release of information to the media and/or police media relations.
C. Media Releases and News Conferences
1. All formal news releases shall be
coordinated with and/or prepared and distributed by a media liaison.
Requests for the release of news media notices
shall be reviewed by element commanders and
submitted for approval by the Chief of Police.
2. All formal news conferences (i.e., those
occasions when an element invites the media to be
present for any purpose) shall be coordinated with,
scheduled, and attended by a media liaison.
D. Correspondence to Media Organizations
All correspondence bearing the signature block
of the Chief of Police released to any media
organization shall receive prior approval from the Chief of Police.
E. Investigations Involving Departmental Employees
The identity of a departmental employee under
investigation (e.g., when a suspect has been
injured) shall be withheld pending completion
of the investigation into the incident.
1. If an employee is criminally charged
as a result of the investigation, the employee’s
identity will be released to the media in the
same manner as for other suspects.
2. If a departmental employee is cleared
of culpability (e.g., injuries are determined
to have been “justified”), that information
will be released. However, the identity of
the employee may be withheld.
COMMITTEES, SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, AND INTERVIEWS
A. Committee Membership
1. All personnel who serve as members of a
committee, whether it be sponsored by the government
or a special interest community organization, shall
submit to the Community Affairs Division (CAD) the
name of the committee and its sponsorship, the
individual’s personal status with the committee,
and the purpose for which the committee was formed.
2. Assignments to committees shall be made
in accordance with the following:
a. Any member of the department who is
approached to serve on any committee as a
representative of the Honolulu Police Department
(HPD) shall obtain written permission from the
Chief of Police prior to accepting the position;
b. Members of the department may accept
requests to serve on committees that are made
by government agencies and community organizations
on a personal basis. In such cases, however,
it should be made clear that the individual is
serving as a private citizen and not as a member
or representative of the HPD;
c. If an employee’s position as a member
of the HPD is an obvious deciding factor in
committee membership, even though the invitation
to serve appears to be personal, the employee
shall obtain the approval of the Chief of Police
before accepting the position; and
d. These instructions shall not be construed
so as to prevent any member of this department
from serving on any standard committee whose
membership is determined by reason of position
within the department (e.g., the major of the
Traffic Division serving on a traffic safety committee).
3. Recognition of Committee Membership
a. Whenever the Chief of Police assigns
an individual to serve on a committee, the
individual’s name, title, and position with
the department may be listed on material generated by that committee.
b. Whenever a member of the department
serves on a committee as a private citizen,
the individual’s name may be listed on
material generated by the committee. However,
no reference shall be made to the individual’s
title or position with the department.
4. Committee Reports
a. Any member of the department who is
assigned by the Chief of Police to serve on
a committee shall protect the interests and
integrity of the department in all committee
proceedings, reports, suggestions, or recommendations.
b. If a report of the committee is detrimental
to the best interests of the department, the matter
shall be immediately brought to the attention of the
Chief of Police. The member shall then request that
a minority report also be presented to express the
dissenting viewpoint of the department and others who
are opposed to the majority of the committee.
c. If the request to present a minority report
is refused by the committee, the member shall apprise
the Chief of Police of the decision in order that
proper attention may be given to other means of
expressing the department’s viewpoint.
B. Public Appearances and Speaking Engagements
1. All requests from community organizations,
business firms, clubs, churches, social groups,
schools, or the media for police personnel to make
public appearances or fulfill speaking engagements
shall be referred to the CAD for coordination.
2. Other requests, such as for the display of
police equipment or guided tours of police facilities,
shall also be referred to the CAD.
3. To ensure that the assignment of personnel is
handled efficiently, all requests for such services
should be made at least four weeks prior to the date
of the event or appearance. The person or group
representative making the request shall be made aware
of the policy requiring four weeks’ prior notice.
4. The CAD shall maintain a record of all requests
and make appropriate notifications to the various elements
to provide the necessary personnel.
5. The CAD shall make current, topical material
available for presentation purposes.
6. Personnel assigned to make public appearances
or fulfill speaking engagements are cautioned to
protect the interests and integrity of the department
at all times and avoid erroneous remarks or statements
that the department would be obligated to rectify publicly.
7. Upon completion of an assigned public appearance
or speaking engagement, personnel shall submit a PUBLIC
APPEARANCES AND SPEAKER REQUESTS – AFTER ACTION REPORT, HPD 415 form.
C. News Media Interviews
News media interviews with departmental personnel
on police-related issues shall be conducted only
upon approval of the individual’s division-level
commander; news media interviews with division-level
commanders shall be conducted only upon approval
of the commander’s bureau or deputy chief.
Division-level commanders shall advise the Media
Liaison Office of authorized interviews and topics to be discussed.
NOTE: This restriction does not affect procedures
for the release of routine information on police
investigations. The officer in charge at a crime
scene or of an investigation may continue to provide
routine information on police investigations to the news media.
Officers and employees shall not permit their
names or photographs to be used for endorsement
of any product or service that is in any way
connected with law enforcement without the
permission of the Chief of Police. Also,
officers and employees shall not allow their
names or photographs to be used in any commercial
testimonial that alludes to their position or
employment with the department without the permission of the Chief of Police.
NEWS MEDIA ACCESS TO CRIME SCENES AND NEWSWORTHY EVENTS
Media representatives bearing news media
identification shall be permitted to contact
the OIC for permission to cross police lines
to obtain information or photographs.
A. This is a privilege not afforded to
members of the general public at a crime scene or newsworthy event.
Note: The news media are allowed the same
access to scenes as the general public.
Reporters and camera crews cannot be denied
access if the general public is allowed entrance into the area.
B. Members of the news media are asked
to produce their identification when seeking
permission to cross police lines. This may
be a media identification card, a business
card with a photograph, or a business card with
separate photographic identification.
C. Permission to cross police lines may
be denied by the OIC when admittance of a media
representative is likely to hinder an ongoing
investigation or operation, destroy evidence,
or contaminate a crime scene. It may also be
denied when a member of the media lacks proper identification.
D. No officer shall prevent or interfere
with news media representatives who are taking
photographs of scenes that are within view of
the public or are questioning suspects, victims,
or witnesses in any public place. Similarly,
no officer shall “pose” or present a suspect,
victim, or witness for photographing or interviews
for the convenience of news media representatives.