The Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has sent a "cease and desist" letter to the Chicago Sun Times asking them to please refrain from due diligence in practicing their livelihood.
The letter from the Chicago FOP was delivered this Tuesday to Sun-Times investigative reporters Tim Novak and Robert Herguth, as well as being posted online at the Chicago FOP's website, "open letter" style. The Sun Times, meanwhile has politely declined and made their opinion public in the best of all possible places, the Sun Times Opinion section.
<quote>We’ve received a letter from the Fraternal Order of Police requesting that we effectively “cease and desist” the practice of journalism.
For the record, our answer is “no.”</quote>
Full text of the FOP letter follows:
<blockquote>It has come to the attention of the FOP that you have gone to the homes of department members in the course of pursuing stories for your publication.
This letter is to notify you to cease and desist this practice. The proper and traditional means of contacting department members is through the Chicago Police Department. Police officers have always had an expectation of privacy in their homes. Their private residence should remain free from media access. Your use of this tactic is unprofessional and unethical, and is further illuminative of your publications’ general bias against the police.
I am informing my members not to speak to either of you, or any Sun-Times reporter, if they come onto their private residence. I am further advising them to call the police and sign complaints for trespassing if you refuse to leave.
Second Vice President, FOP</blockquote>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chicago Police Union requests Chicago Sun-Times cease and desist practice of persistent journalism in letter <a href="https://t.co/lIaJIsdDDO">https://t.co/lIaJIsdDDO</a></p>— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) <a href="https://twitter.com/FreedomofPress/status/908811636131205120">September 15, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Chicago Sun-Times justified their practices explaining that, especially in investigative journalism, there is often a need for reporters to interview the people they are covering in order to fully flesh out the story.
<blockquote>Sometimes, it’s an email. Sometimes, it’s a phone call. Sometimes, it’s a trip to their home or office. Many times, it’s all of the above.
Make no mistake, Mr. Preib, this publication calls it like it sees it when it comes to the Chicago Police Department.
That means stories and editorials about hero officers such as Bernard Domagala, who was laid to rest this week, and stories like the one Novak and Herguth did in Sunday’s editions that noted the soft penalties for some officers caught abusing alcohol or drugs.
What you see as “a tactic,” we see as making every effort to reach out to police officers so their voices can be heard without being screened by the union or the police department. It may be inconvenient, but we are not in the habit of relying upon the police department’s communications office to tell us everything we need to know.
If officers speak to our reporters — and, yes, they sometimes do — we hear them out. If they don’t, the standard practice is to hand them a business card and leave.
Chicago needs a great police force. Chicago also needs great journalism. So, Mr. Preib, you do your job and we’ll do ours.
You keep the city safe. We’ll keep the city informed.</blockquote>
"You do your job and we'll do ours," succinct if not sweet, but certainly to the point.