NYPD Memo Reminds Police Officers That Photography is Not a Crime

If you’re a street photography-loving New Yorker who’s worried about being stopped and harassed by the New York Police Department, check out this official memo that was sent out to officers back in 2009. The Operations Order, titled “Investigation of Individuals Engaged in Suspicious Photography and Video Surveillance”, states,

Members of the service are reminded that photography and the video taping of public places, buildings and structures are common activities within New York City… all such photography will have no connection to terrorism or unlawful conduct. Given the City’s prominence as a tourist destination, practically all such photography will have no connection to terrorism or unlawful conduct.

Members of the service may not demand to view photographs taken by a person absent consent […] When there is probable cause to believe that the camera, film or other media contains evidence of criminal activity, the item may be seized, and a search warrant must be obtained in order to view its contents.

Here’s a higher-res version of this image in case you’d like to print it out, laminate it, and carry it around in your photo bag. You can bust it out in the event that you do get stopped.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Eric!

  • Randall “texrat” Arnold

    Wow, rare example of common sense!

  • AJ

    I was down at the RNC this past week, and to their credit, the police were extremely courteous and professional. I took several photos of the police without even the slightest hint of trouble. In some cases, they even smiled for the camera!

    From what I understand, the city of Tampa went out of their way to put police on the streets that had a history of good behavior and non-violence.

  • Kung Fu Panda

    Good to see that photographers are protected in New York, come to China, you will be harassed by police, security guards and anybody else. Sadly, if you are foreigner with camera in China, you are considered as spy and enemy …