The Chicago Police Department is going ahead with its plan to fingerprint journalists who seek press credentials, despite media concerns. At a meeting last Friday, “police…addressed the majority of the privacy concerns raised by those who plan to apply for the new media credential,” Ben Bradley of Chicago’s WLS-TV reported for the Chicago Headline Club, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Chicago police issue 3,000 credentials each year. the department is instituting fingerprinting in part “to make the process less vulnerable to people who would abuse this privilege that our media credentials afford legitimate news reporters,” said police news affairs director David Bayless.
The Headline Club says that the police department has agreed that fingerprints of journalists will be checked only in Chicago’s internal identification system and will not be entered int any other computer system. The department also agreed that it would recognize media credentials from any other agency. That means, for example, that a journalist with a credential from the Cook County Sheriff, which does not check fingerprints, would have the same acess to police headquarters and crime scenes.
The Headline Club, which opposed plans to fingerprint journalists, will review the issue based on the police vow to address privacy concerns.