Idaho Falls Police Department
“We work with our fellow citizens to create a community safe from crime and disorder, and enforce the law in a manner faithful to the Constitution of the United States of America.”
The Idaho Falls Police Department, which operates 24/7, 52 weeks a year, is much like the media as we work to serve the citizens of Idaho Falls, in part, through collecting and sharing important information.
It is the philosophy of the Idaho Falls Police Department to respond to media and public inquiries as quickly, completely and accurately as possible. This media policy is only part of the department’s general philosophy to operate in an open, cooperative partnership with the community.
The release of information from the IFPD to the media will be in the spirit of the department’s media policy and in accordance with Idaho Code. This booklet is a reference guide only, and not intended to cover every possible situation.
This guide will help you know:
Who to Call?
Weekdays, major crimes or officer involved critical response incidents: Your media contact is:
Joelyn Hansen, IFPD Community Projects Coordinator/Public Information Officer:
Daily Incident Info: Daily incident reports are available to the public. Information is released Monday – Friday by the PIO. Weekend incidents (unless a critical response) will be reported by the PIO on Monday.
Nights, weekend and holidays: Patrol Shift Supervisor, 529-1200
***A note about what the Shift Supervisor can give you: The Patrol Shift Supervisor is able to provide basic information on breaking crimes, or crimes that occur on his or her shift. If you call a shift supervisor immediately after a report goes out over the radio, he or she will likely have no more information than you do. It may be a least 30 minutes after a call that details are available for release.
Shift supervisors are in the patrol division and not briefed on cases that involve detectives or ongoing investigations (different divisions – different jobs). If you’d like a weekend or evening update on an ongoing investigation, please plan ahead and get the information from the PIO during weekday business hours.
Crimes and Arrests:
What information is available?
*If the location of arrest/crime may identify victims, this information may not be immediately available.
What Information may be Available?
What Information is not available?
*Police officers routinely deal with people who have diagnosed or suspected mental illness. This is a medical condition protected under the medical records provision of the public records act. The department may only be able to refer you to the Department of Health & Welfare; however, they too are restricted in providing information due to patient’s privacy rights.
Child Protection matters are also protected by law. Children taken into protective custody for whatever reason are provided protection of their identities and status under state and federal statutes.
What are the rules of being at a crime scene?
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be a special perimeter set up for Media at crimes scenes?
Generally – no. If an area is safe for the media it must also be safe for the public. However in some cases, media may be allowed in a restricted area for better access.
The department asks media cooperation in working with officers at a crime scene before the perimeter is set.
When does a suspect become a suspect?
When an arrest warrant is issued. Prior to that, their name may be released as a request to locate a “person of interest wanted for questioning”. Keep in mind that a person of interest may also simply turn out to be a witness.
Can I get updates on major cases on the weekend? What about crime stats?
Please plan ahead if you want to do a weekend update on a major, ongoing case. The weekend Shift Supervisor handles issues of the day and generally isn’t able to speak to major cases involving detectives. The PIO may also not be available for a weekend update if nothing is new on a major case. Normally, if a significant breakthrough occurs on a weekend, a news release will be issued.
Why can’t the department release medical conditions?
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 provides people with privacy regarding their medical conditions.
Except for general descriptions of injuries sustained at a crime or accident scene, as pertinent to the crime or accident that occurred, the Idaho Falls Police Department is unable to provide media with specific medical conditions or exact types of injuries. Victim or family approval is necessary for the public release of this information, which is unattainable during the time police are involved in an incident.
What about the identity of victims or traffic accidents?
If the accident is fatal, the name of the deceased victim will be released as soon as family is notified.
What if I get a tip about an ongoing investigation?
If you ask about something officers are currently digging into, the department may or may not be able to confirm the investigation. Releasing news about an ongoing investigation prematurely could jeopardize the investigation, and possibly officer or public safety. Department response depends completely on preserving the integrity of the investigation.
What if I want an interview with the victim of a crime?
The police department is prohibited from releasing names of crime victims and witnesses. The department’s professional and ethical responsibility is in preserving a victim’s dignity, privacy, and resolving whatever crime has been committed against them.
Can the IFPD help me with a story by providing background statistics?
Yes. The IFPD can assist with looking up statistical information regarding crime within Idaho Falls. Please allow for time to collect and gather information.
How can I get a ride-along with an officer?
Please contact the PIO with your request, and we’ll find an available officer for you to ride along with, as long as your request is media related.
All civilians, including media must submit an application and waiver prior to a ride-along. Please let the PIO know as soon as possible that you’d like a ride along so you have time to complete and submit the necessary waiver and application.
How do I find out information about a case that’s gone to court?
You should check with the appropriate court or with the prosecutor’s office for that information that includes hearing dates, camera requests, etc. The IFPD deals with the investigative phase, then, for public information, we have to direct you to the courts or the prosecutor’s office.
What if I have a question about a past incident?
Please provide as much specific information as possible about the incident to the IFPD. Given times, places or names, we can track it down and provide you the information.
Why don’t police make reports on everything they respond to?
Police are charged with addressing criminal matters. Officers often respond to calls where no criminal activity appears to have taken place. When that happens, often no police report is made. Civil situations like neighbor disputes over property lines, water disputes, or landlord-tenant disputes, fire or EMS assists often do not result in police reports.
Some accidents such as construction accidents, falls, etc. may be incidents that are medical calls and police respond to assist, but if no criminal intent is apparent, there may not be a police report.