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  • Spotting Illegal?

    Ok im so sick of airport security and chicago Police... Out of the last three times I have gone to take pictures I have been confronted by not just one but 2 or 3 security officials. On one occasion I was patted down, and escorted to the back of a police car. Just to mention that on every time that I was spotting that I was on public property (sidewalks). I have contacted the ChicagoDepartment of Aviation and I highly doubt they will ever respond to my emails. I was wondering if everyone expierences the same crap I do everytime they go to their local airport.
    Ed



  • #2
    Hello,

    I found the best way to proceed was to find out who was in charge of security at a particular airport and write to them. I explained who I was, what I would be doing, where I would be operating, etc. I then asked them to write me a letter outlining that I had permission to operate in these areas and that I was 'clean'.

    Since then I have never had any problems and when I have been approached by the police or security agents I have merley shown them my letter and they have been happy enough to leave me to get on with it.

    I am not sure if this i an option for you at Chicago but it might be worthwhile looking into something similar?
    Best Regards
    BT777

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    • #3
      The guys at PVD pretty much know me by now. Although I park too close and parallel to the fence sometimes haha. I was standing on my car yesterday thinking, man if I wanted to, I could get over this fence right now. Of course I didn't do it though. They noticed that as well. The first ops guy that drove by stopped and asked me what I was doing. Then about a half hour later the police van drove up. He basically said that I couldn't park that close to the fence. He had seen me there before and knew I wasn't a problem. But just to be safe and do his job, he took down my license number and name and probably my license plate and car color although I didn't see him do this. I moved my car so that it was perpendicular to the fence and I wasn't within "jumping distance." I left soon after though since PVD gets really boring after a while with all of the lovely Southwest 737s we get lol.

      Bottom line: SPOTTING ISN'T ILLEGAL. They have no right to arrest you as you're not doing anything wrong. I've spotted on the public road before as well and the town police (not airport) got antsy about it. One guy drove up and just asked what I was doing and he said I was all set. Not 15 minutes later another guy drove up and told me to leave. Conflicting information? I think so...I don't spot there anymore though. Approach shots get boring haha.

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      • #4
        That's bizarre - unfortunately, not the first time I've heard Chicago Police harassing spotters.
        ualwillstand - I had a question: what did they tell you and how did the discussion end up?
        Did they tell you that spotting is illegal? If yes, they are blatantly wrong! Did they tell you to leave?
        Next time this happens, write down the badge number of the officer or officers and file a complaint with their department giving their names and badge numbers. You were on public areas so there is nothing illegal you were dong that way. You could also go to the local station and file a complaint there. One thing they can not sweep under the rug is when officers make statements that something is illegal when in fact it isn't.

        That said, when you are in an area where you are seen by a lot of people I'm sure the police department will get plenty of calls from "concerned citizens".

        Regarding my area, law enforcement at DCA, IAD and BWI are pretty reasonable folks. Plus, at this point they have encountered us enough times to know that we are spotting
        -----
        Washington Baltimore Spotters Group

        My photos at JetPhotos.Net

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        • #5
          well i went to KMDW and the officer said he had a call and he treated me like I robbed a bank. "taking pictures of airplanes is illegal", he then tried telling me I was tresspassing. I was on the right side of the fence and I was on the sidewalk were people walk and ride their bikes on frequently. He got out of the car and grabbed my camera, he then patted me down and kept asking me if i have ever been arrested. He then grabbed me and put me in the back of his car. I asked him if I was being charged with anyhting but he kept ignoring me. he then asked were i parked and i showed him. He searched my car and then took down a bunch of info from my license. He then repeatdly asked me if I had ever been arrested. Then he told me to go back to my home town if I knew what was best for me.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by ualwillstand
            well i went to KMDW and the officer said he had a call and he treated me like I robbed a bank. "taking pictures of airplanes is illegal", he then tried telling me I was tresspassing. I was on the right side of the fence and I was on the sidewalk were people walk and ride their bikes on frequently. He got out of the car and grabbed my camera, he then patted me down and kept asking me if i have ever been arrested. He then grabbed me and put me in the back of his car. I asked him if I was being charged with anyhting but he kept ignoring me. he then asked were i parked and i showed him. He searched my car and then took down a bunch of info from my license. He then repeatdly asked me if I had ever been arrested. Then he told me to go back to my home town if I knew what was best for me.
            Thats pretty sad on his part. Do you have his name at all or any info on his car? How did you end up getting out of the back of his car and getting the camera back?

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            • #7
              "Photography is illegal" is BS!
              He searched your car? Did he ask you whether he could search it? He has to!
              To be trespassing, there have to be signs there saying "No trespassing" first however, as you say, you were on a sidewalk!
              It reminds me of an encounter I had with a State Trooper a long time ago (2002). He started "photography is not allowed" and I replied back saying "that's not true". He moved on to the trespassing game and I said I'm not trespassing since I'm 5 yeards in front of the sign. The back and forth continued for a while until he said you can't park there at which point me and the others moved our cars to a parking nearby and came back...
              -----
              Washington Baltimore Spotters Group

              My photos at JetPhotos.Net

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              • #8
                I was like "im just gunna go home" and that seemed to make him happy. It was a CHicago Police SUV vehicle. Luckily he gave me back my camera before i left. I was pretty scared and didnt get anything to get his identity. But this is like an everytime thing. Not as big most of the time but theirs alwasy sumeone telling me im wrong and tht wht im doing is illegal.


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                • #9
                  This will continue to happen until you do tell them that what they are doing is wrong. I'm all for co-operating with them - after all they do have a job to do, but we do have our rights as well.
                  -----
                  Washington Baltimore Spotters Group

                  My photos at JetPhotos.Net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Its not like the same police are coming up to me. Its differnet people. I have only had one good expierence and tht was around KORD. Nicest cops I have ever met. THey came up to us and said they knew what we were doing but had to make sure that we werent causing any trouble. Just wrote down a little report and said we were set to spot here and he gave us other good locations to go spotting around the airport. We talked for about 20 minutes and the cop left.


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                    • #11
                      Sorry - I didn't mean to make it appear that would have to be the same person. It will take time for the department to find out how to deal with photographers and act within the boundaries of the law
                      -----
                      Washington Baltimore Spotters Group

                      My photos at JetPhotos.Net

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                      • #12
                        its just when i argue i seem to dig a deeper whole and the cops seem to be more of an ass.


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