January 19, 2018 Myself and long time friend were standing on public property along Mill street yesterday (literally 2 feet off the road in plain sight) filming aircraft landing in the wind. It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch as planes come in sideways. We’re both recognized and globally published photographers/videographers. We did nothing suspicious, nothing abnormal and were questioned like criminals for standing on dirt everyone in America owns. We’re strong police supporters, these two don’t represent the overwhelming majority of officers.
Seemingly we were the first two individuals in the history of aviation to have recorded images of aircraft in flight. We’re true pioneers in this up and coming field… Officer Hutchinson was seemingly confused and asked me what I was doing 5+ times in a row, each time not accepting my answer and demanding more as though I had some hidden agenda. It was a really interesting experience.
In the course of 5 minutes we went from enjoying a day of filming to being asked if we were “surveilling for terrorist acts” and that we were “trespassing on airport property”. Regardless of our calm, methodical answers explaining what we were doing, why it was legal, how we had no ill intentions and that we didn’t appreciate being questioned any further they kept pushing the matter. Just a short time later someone over their radio obviously informed them we were clearly not trespassing and it is not only legal, but very common for photographers to capture images of aircraft. They then acted as though they had never said any of the things they did. We were still nice and said ‘have a nice day, stay safe out there’. I’m sure they’re not our biggest fans, but honestly, just be nice guys.
Not everyone out there is a criminal. I know they deal with criminals day in and day out, that’s the nature of their job and I respect it, however they need to approach people without the assumption of wrongdoing and need to understand the laws they’re attempting to enforce. We’re just a couple normal guys enjoying a windy day at the airport. Statistically I don’t *think* that means we’re sworn Jihadists. I mean really, was I the dumbest terrorist in the world parking a giant truck out in plain sight and standing around with tripods as obvious as could be?? What data was I collecting, the fact that aircraft do indeed eventually land at airports??
Had we not known the laws, been calm, composed and quite honestly not fit any possible stereotypical look of a criminal or terrorist I really feel like things could have been much worse. At the end they acted like they had done us a favor by not detaining or searching us.
Oh, we were clearly on public property as indicated by the giant sign 10 feet from us. Which, I repeatedly pointed out to the officers, neither of which seemed to think mattered at all. Additionally the referenced NRS 207.200 on the sign makes no mention of it being ‘unlawful to be within 4 feet of a fence’. It appears to just be added jargon, I think you’d have one HECK of a time convicting someone of being ‘too close to your fence’. But again we were beyond the “4 foot buffer zone”.
Again, I fully appreciate and respect the job that any and all law enforcement officers do. I also realize inherently your job is to deal with people committing crimes, but I ask that you realize that not all people are bad. Believe it or not, you actually work for the community, don’t assume they are terrorists. Please make that distinction based on each individuals actions, not from blind assumption.