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Location Cops Get Backup from Film Industry

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, September 03, 2008, at 11:55AM
copzcopy Ed Fuentes

The LA Times reports today on the ongoing debate over motion picture officers. Whereas New York City uses active duty officers to police film shoots, Los Angeles has historically given that role to a group made up largely of retired officers. The department has been working on a plan to bring shoot duties back under its control, and that's got Hollywood unhappy.

The paper reports that an e-mail petition signed by over 600 location managers, directors, actors and crew members will be submitted to City Council supporting the continued use of movie officers on film sets.

The current force of officers is made mostly of retired LAPD officers with some off-duty members. They are granted a working permit from LAPD, but are not otherwise governed by the department. Productions contract directly with officers they would like to hire.

The article notes that LAPD Chief William Bratton isn't a fan of the system, citing concerns over the officers' accountability. Film and TV productions, though, feel the system keeps filming affordable and that an LAPD-run operation would cost them more.

The officers working the shoots are likewise in favor of the status-quo. At a recent Arts District shoot, the motion picture officer on-duty suggested that LAPD is “just trying to tap into the Hollywood budget. An on-duty cop would leave his post if he was called on an emergency. They have no understanding of film crews needs.”

A lack of permit enforcement by motion picture officers was one of the complaints the community brought to the table last year, when efforts were made to negotiate special conditions for Downtown filming. Complaints over filming came to a head after a helicopter was used in the Historic Core late into the night.

City Council is expected to craft a compromise program, with results possible by the end of the year.


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