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news media cameraman
  • Media Relations


This course will provide law enforcement officers and supervisors with the necessary tools to effectively relate to the news media. Students will learn how to prepare for and respond to television, radio, and newspaper interviews as well as press conferences. Strategic planning and liability are the tenets of this course.

Course Outline

Day One

Writing Exercise

  • Use of Force case
  • Objective: Practical exercise to set a benchmark for expertise of students


  • Background of Instructor/Students
  • Practical exercise to have students speak in front of strangers

Writing Exercise

Subjective vs. Objective – A Facilitated Discussion

  • Perceptions
  • Right vs. Wrong
  • “Trigger” Words – What are they?
  • Media vs. Law Enforcement
  • One Word…Relationships
  • Relationships with…
  • Reporters
  • Assignment Editors
  • Station Managers

Local PIO’s

  • Investigators
  • Patrol Officers
  • Unit Commanders
  • Chief of Police
  • Communications


  • What does the Media think of the Police?
  • What does the Police think of the Media?
  • Is the underlying relationship adversarial?

What is the job of the PIO?

  • Who do you represent?
  • Who do you speak for?
  • Chain of Command
  • How often do you meet with your Chief?
  • Organizational Chart (PIO report to Chief)
  • Define… Don’t Defend…

What equipment do you need?

  • Cell Phone
  • Secondary Contact Device/Cell phone
  • Note pad
  • Uniform
  • Police car – Stop-equipped
  • Audio Recording Device
  • Radio/Scanner

Building the Ideal PIO – A Facilitated Discussion

  • Experience
  • Discussion and Flip Chart

Who is going to do the interview?

  • Ask yourself three questions…
  • Would the information put anyone in danger?
  • Would the information interfere with the investigation?
  • Why are they talking to me?
  • Unit Commander
  • Location
  • How many will you do?
  • It will generate leads and a lot more work for the investigator.

The Television Interview

  • Interview might last several minutes
  • What “airs” might last 30-60 seconds
  • Might be used several times over a two day period
  • What is your message?
  • What are your “talking points?”
  • Television time is expensive
  • They will not waste time on what you WON’T tell them, concentrate on what you WILL tell them

The Radio Interview

  • Interview might last several minutes
  • What “airs” might last 60-90 seconds
  • Might be used several times for one full day
  • Maybe several times an hour on “all News” stations

The Newspaper Interview

  • Interview might last several minutes
  • Most of what you talk about will be used in the article
  • Will be published in the paper so that the reader can read it as many times as they want
  • Much of what you read in the paper is implied
  • If your name is in the article, people will assume what?
  • Look to see if your comments are in “quote”
  • Reading exercise
  • Pull newspaper articles and read them to determine what “appears” to have been said and what was actually said

NYPD Use of Force – Facilitated Discussion

Press Releases

  • What is your purpose?
  • What is your message?

Practical Writing exercise

  • Give the class specific details about an event
  • Have them write a press release and discuss what they will/will not disclose and why.

Press Conferences

  • What is your purpose?
  • What is your message?
  • Exercise: Discuss Terrell Owens Press Conference in Dallas
  • Are you going to showcase evidence?
  • Will there be props?
  • Will the investigators be on hand?
  • Are you going to have a Q&A session?
  • Are you simply going to read a statement?

Press Conferences

  • Ground Rules
  • Make sure people show up
  • 15 minutes beforehand…
  • Introductions; Spelling; Lineup; Raise hand…
  • Start on time
  • End on your terms

Officer-Involved Cases

  • Remember…
  • Define… Don’t Defend
  • When do you release the name of the officer?
  • What is still ahead for them?
  • IA interview; Grand Jury; Criminal case

Can the Media influence perceptions of the News?

  • Facilitated Discussion
  • Practical Exercises


Day Two

Day 1 Recap


  • Common pitfalls
  • Betrayals of reporters

Police Blotters

  • What is the purpose of the “Police Blotters” we see in newspapers?
  • Daily Watch Commander Reports
  • Remove M.O. signatures
  • Identify other pertinent information that Investigators may not want out just yet
  • Send them out via channels.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about them

Press Checks

  • Refer to handout
  • What you should release
  • What you should NOT release
  • OD’s Office, Police Communications, Fire Communications

Department Media Policy

Community Service Events – A Practical Exercise

  • The class will break into groups and present an event to the remainder of the class in press conference format
  • Designed to test the students’ ability to formulate a press conference and answer questions from the “audience”

Press Conferences

  • The class will break into groups
  • Each group will craft a significant event which garners media attention and requires that each group facilitate their own press conference using any means at their disposal (photos, props, guest speakers, etc.)
  • The goal is to effectively combine the lessons of the past day and a half so that the students can facilitate a press conference in a safe and controlled environment.

California Public Records Act

  • Facilitated Discussion
  • Large Group
  • ...Provides useful tools necessary for assessing the veracity of a suspected child abuser, which goes a long way in helping to protect children.

    —Sunny Burgan, MSSW, LCSW, Social Work Supervisor, Santa Clara County DFCS
  • Your class gave me the confidence and tools to interview the suspect for over 5 hours and to bring a closure to the case.

    —Daniel Phelan, San Jose Police Department
  • Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend the Interview and Interrogation training presented by Paul Francois and Enrique Garcia.

    —Todd Almason, Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office
  • This was, by far, one of the most useful classes I've attended since becoming an investigator.

    —Steven Aiello, Antioch Police Department
  • Your instructional style is engaging and your tag-team style is highly effective.

    —George Laing, Fire Prevention Captain, Investigator
  • I highly recommend this training for any Probation staff who have the necessity to interview/interrogate individuals for investigation purposes.

    —R. Bret Fidler, Santa Clara County Probation Department
  • The information that they have presented is highly relevant to my job, and was presented in a manner that was highly organized and very easy to digest.

    —Michael McGarvey, California State Prison, San Quentin
  • I will continue to use and pass on this information because I really believe in the instructors and their approach.

    —Kimberly Meyer, Washoe County Sheriff's Department
  • Your class has made the greatest and most direct impact on my assignment of any training class that I've taken.

    —Ken Gelskey, National City Police Department
  • You two are an effective teaching team, and your presentation of the material was consistently interesting, and intelligent without being too intellectualized.

    —Michele Keller, Deputy Probation Officer, County of Alameda