UPDATE: Capitol Police Chief Responds to SEJ Letter

April 10, 2014

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine responded April 10, 2014, to SEJ's letter complaining about the brief detention of BNA energy reporter Ari Natter on March 28. In an e-mail, Dine said: "some of the most important things we do is protect the rights of citizens to express  themselves and protect the freedom of the press as we go about our duties protecting and serving the legislative process."

/received by e-mail/

Dear Mr. Davis:

I thank you as well for copying me on your letter. I appreciate you taking the time to document and share the thoughts of the Society of Environmental Journalists. I certainly believe as well that your points are well taken and again, I appreciate you taking the time to share them. The USCP fulfills many roles in our status as a unique police agency and some of the most important things we do is protect the rights of citizens to express themselves and protect the freedom of the press as we go about our duties protecting and serving the legislative process. Our folks do this on practically a daily basis almost always with skill and tact and diplomacy. As such, we in fact are  committed to the ideals you cite in your letter and we take these roles very seriously. Obviously there are likely times when we can do better. I certainly apologize for this incident and while I too believe that this is a fairly isolated incident given the millions of interactions we have on a yearly basis, I want you to know how seriously we take these issues and how important we believe it is for the USCP and the media to have an healthy relationship on Capitol Hill, and for that matter everywhere. Over my thirty-eight year police career with three different police departments I have always treasured and nurtured our relationship with the media as I believe we have a unique and symbiotic relationship.  We are fully committed to excellence in our officers’ daily interactions with members, staff,  our media partners, and the public. I, too, pledge to continue to work together with you and your colleagues.

On a personal note, my father, after many years of service in World War II, spent essentially his entire professional life in the media, starting out as a police reporter for the Worcester Telegram, and then working behind the scenes at NBC News, CBS, News, and later for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting here in Washington, DC. In fact his move here to CPB brought our family to the District of Columbia back in the early 70’s.  My brother started out with the Patriot Ledger in the Boston area and then had a long career with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. So-when talking with reporters I always brag a bit about my lineage as it relates to media issues and I would like to think this background has helped me understand the truly unique and special relationship between the media and the police and to forge strong relationships.  Thanks again for your letter and for working with us.

Sincerely,

Kim C. Dine
Chief of Police
United States Capitol Police