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SDPD Detective's Role As Press-Pass Monitor Questioned in Lawsuit

Getting into a press conference should be a relatively simple task for members of the media. Well, not in San Diego County where one man, Detective Gary Hassen, a spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department, acts as the press-pass monitor with the authority to deny certain journalists and publications that he sees fit, or rather unfit.

Now, according to the North County Times, Hassen's reign as monitor is being questioned. Last week, a news outfit based in Connecticut, American News and Information Services, filed a lawsuit contesting the policy after a freelance videographer had his pass revoked.

But the videographer is not the only one who Hassen has rejected.

This correspondent is also on the list of reporters not allowed into certain press conferences.

In August of last year, I sent an application for a press pass to Hassen so that I could attend a briefing by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. In my application, I provided a link to hundreds of articles that I have written over a five-year span for The Reader as well as other publications.

With the deadline looming, I left a phone message for Hassen pleading with him to issue a pass and grant permission into the Sheriff's Department press conference.

Thinking the tone might ruin my chances, I sent the following email dated September 1, 2011:

"I was wondering if you have had a chance to look over my press card application, yet. I apologize for my previous emails on this and would really like to attend tomorrow's press conference. Could you please let me know the status, whenever you get a chance?"

Later that day Hassen sent the following email:

"Your application has been denied. In order to qualify, you must show a need to cross fire and police lines. Your material showed community interest, entertainment, etc."

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Getting into a press conference should be a relatively simple task for members of the media. Well, not in San Diego County where one man, Detective Gary Hassen, a spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department, acts as the press-pass monitor with the authority to deny certain journalists and publications that he sees fit, or rather unfit.

Now, according to the North County Times, Hassen's reign as monitor is being questioned. Last week, a news outfit based in Connecticut, American News and Information Services, filed a lawsuit contesting the policy after a freelance videographer had his pass revoked.

But the videographer is not the only one who Hassen has rejected.

This correspondent is also on the list of reporters not allowed into certain press conferences.

In August of last year, I sent an application for a press pass to Hassen so that I could attend a briefing by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. In my application, I provided a link to hundreds of articles that I have written over a five-year span for The Reader as well as other publications.

With the deadline looming, I left a phone message for Hassen pleading with him to issue a pass and grant permission into the Sheriff's Department press conference.

Thinking the tone might ruin my chances, I sent the following email dated September 1, 2011:

"I was wondering if you have had a chance to look over my press card application, yet. I apologize for my previous emails on this and would really like to attend tomorrow's press conference. Could you please let me know the status, whenever you get a chance?"

Later that day Hassen sent the following email:

"Your application has been denied. In order to qualify, you must show a need to cross fire and police lines. Your material showed community interest, entertainment, etc."

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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