When are media ‘ride-alongs’ with police allowed?

Friday, June 4, 2004

Media “ride-alongs” are allowed up to the point that law enforcement personnel enter a private residence. In Wilson v. Layne, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999 held that police officers executing an arrest warrant violated the Fourth Amendment when they, without the homeowners’ consent, invited a reporter and photographer inside a home to witness the search for a fugitive. While the Court recognized that the inclusion of media representatives in such cases might serve general law enforcement aims, it held that such goals were insufficient to overcome the privacy protections fundamental to the Fourth Amendment.