LAPD Entertainment Trademark Unit (ETU)

Filming with the LAPD

100 West First Street
Room 257-B
Los Angeles, California 90012
(213) 486-7063

Monday thru Friday 7:00 am to 4:00 pm
Closed on civic holidays

LAPD Entertainment Trademark Unit (ETU) Personnel

 

Lt. Raul Jovel, Media Relations Section
Email: 33400@lapd.online
Office (213) 486-5910

Pedro M. Muñiz, Principal Public Relations Representative
Email: n2181@lapd.online
Office (213) 486-7063

ABOUT US

Since its inception in January 2006, the Entertainment Trademark Unit (ETU), is part of the Media Relations Division, has embarked on a number of important tasks.

The LAPD ETU, which is composed of both sworn and civilian employees, has three primary goals:

* To protect LAPD trademarked material (often referred to as “intellectual property”) used in the media or on commercial products by maintaining proper licensing agreements. This material includes the LAPD badge, acronym (LAPD), uniform, and motto (“To Protect and to Serve”);

* To work with the entertainment industry in evaluating LAPD-related material in scripts for films, television, and related ventures, as well as production coordination for such projects; and

* To organize and manage the LAPD photo archives, which includes nearly 1 million historically significant photographs.

With the Internet as an ever-increasing source of information and images, as well as consumer goods and services, it is more important than ever for the LAPD to maintain proper surveillance and control of its intellectual properties.

Questions or reports of possible violations, including inquiries about how to properly license and use LAPD trademarked material are welcome and may be submitted directly to the LAPD ETU by calling 213-486-5930.

UPDATED: December 2020

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FAQ's - crime scene photos, documentaries, reality shows, tech advisors, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Piper Technical Center
555 Ramirez Street
Los Angeles 90012

Air Support Division is the most highly requested filming request. Inquiries are forwarded directly to the Commanding Officer of Air Support Division for consideration, and are generally declined, as the smallest size production footprint impacts operations.

The LAPD does not allow outside use of LAPD historical photos due to recent case law that determined doing so would forfeit the copyright protection of the image.

Bomb Squad is highly requested for filming requests. Inquiries are forwarded directly to the Commanding Officer of Bomb Squad for considerations, and are generally declined, as the smallest size production footprint impacts operations.

The LAPD ETU accepts interior and exterior filming requests for Deaton Auditorium. Deaton Auditorium is a city property and not exclusively an LAPD facility. For this reason, the restriction against interior filming applicable to other LAPD facilities does not apply to the Deaton Auditorium. As a city venue, it is used for LAPD and civic events.

Requests to film procedural documentary content with the LAPD are received by LAPD ETU and forwarded for command staff review and approval.

Guidelines for documentary consideration:

Depict the LAPD in positive light
Focus on an area within the organization the LAPD is open to publicizing
Be viewed by a large enough demographic to justify the LAPD’s participation
May not focus on any criminal investigation not fully adjudicated

Documentary shows requesting one-time officer interviews, which can be completed in four hours or less, are more likely to be approved. Longer term projects with extended filming needs obligate producers to compensate the LAPD for officer time and LAPD resources devoted to completing the filming.

This compensation is made in the form of a licensing fee paid for use of the LAPD’s trademarks. Specific terms for payment and fees are negotiated between the production company and City Attorney’s Office.

In order to provide fair and impartial service to any organization, program, product, or service, the LAPD has a Non-Endorsement Policy.

Proposals for episodic series are the most frequently received inquiries by LAPD ETU. The LAPD has not participated in an episodic series since “LAPD: Life on the Beat” in the mid 1990s. Two factors have made it difficult to entertainment filming requests of this kind:

* Three-year Contract Term: Because of a codicil in the City Charter, City entities are not able to issue in perpetuity contracts, as this would require ratification by the full City Council. Instead, LAPD ETU issues contracts for three-year terms and renews them for subsequent three-year periods.

* Quality Control Review: The LAPD must review and approve all footage of LAPD officers in compliance with Section 4C of the Trademark Agreement. Filmed content is seen and approved by the LAPD prior to any airing of the program in the public domain. The review is conducted to ensure (1) no officer is shown acting outside of policy; (2) no officer is shown doing anything that would bring discredit on the LAPD; and (3) to make certain nothing is shown on film that would leave the City open to civil liability.

The LAPD does not permit its Registered Trademarks to be used for fictional projects.

Requests to use LAPD patrol cars, badges, and uniforms are declined. Please contact prop houses for police equipment.

No contracts or LAPD supervision is required provided the production company confines its activities to public property.

Requests from production companies seeking to secure establishing shots are generally approved provided:

* They are filmed from public sidewalks or across the street
* Do not show Registered Trademarks of the LAPD
* Do not impede public access to LAPD property
* Do not show LAPD officers in uniform
* Do not show private citizens without their prior written consent

Requests from entertainment concerns seeking evidentiary materials or crime scene photos are referred to the District Attorney’s Public Information Office. While the LAPD is custodian of crime scene evidence, the District Attorney determines what evidence is released in the public domain. It is our understanding the District Attorney’s Office typically declines such requests.

There is a $100 administrative charge to process contracts for Location Agreements, Trademark Agreements, and Ride-Along Trademark Agreements.

Production companies filming for more than one day must negotiate directly with the City Attorney for recovery of personnel costs for LAPD staff assigned to the project.

Requests to film on LAPD properties is granted in accordance with a Mayoral Directive the LAPD be film-friendly. Projects include television commercials, print ads, scenes for fictional and non-fictional TV series and movies nominally based on the LAPD.

Guidelines:

* No depiction of LAPD trademarks
* No portrayal of LAPD officers in uniform or Department equipment
* Properties may only be shown as generic backdrops for filming, not LAPD facilities
* Filming must occur on days/times when police events are not planned
* Signs identifying LAPD facility can not be obstructed from plain view

Requirements:

* Must sign our standard Location Agreement with no revisions
* Proof of liability insurance in amount of $1 million
* Hiring of active duty uniformed LAPD officer(s) from FilmLA to act as site liaison

LAPD officers may appear on game shows off-duty as private citizens only. No mention of their employment with the LAPD may be made on the program, nor may images/photos of them in uniform or containing LAPD marks be shown.

Civilians and officers may say they work for a law enforcement agency in the Los Angeles or Southern California area, but may not mention LAPD by name. The LAPD prohibits filming of employees’ family lives in all LAPD sanctioned entertainment projects.

Interior filming is not permitted inside any LAPD building. A person may be shown walking toward or away from an LAPD building but cameras and production crews can never be inside an LAPD building.

LAPD jail locations are utilized 24/7 and are not available for filming projects.

Location scouts and managers are welcome to scout LAPD facilities at their convenience without an appointment. Still photography is permitted. If approached by an LAPD officer at a location, you can explain the purpose of your visit and that you have permission from the LAPD Entertainment Trademark Unit.

LAPD ETU can only confirm current active duty LAPD officers. Please submit rank and name of fictional character via email.

In order to provide fair and impartial service to any organization, program, product, or service, the LAPD has a Non-Endorsement Policy.

Officers are under no obligation to appear in interviews. If an LAPD officer appears in uniform, a Trademark Agreement must be issued to the production company granting written permission for use of LAPD marks. Detectives often appear in professional business attire to avoid the necessity for a Trademark Agreement.

LAPD officers may appear on reality shows off-duty as private citizens only. No mention of their employment with the LAPD may be made on the program, nor may images/photos of them in uniform or containing LAPD marks be shown.

Civilians and officers may say they work for a law enforcement agency in the Los Angeles or Southern California area, but may not mention the LAPD by name. The LAPD prohibits filming of employees’ family lives in all LAPD-sanctioned entertainment projects.

* The Los Angeles Police Department Badge
* The Los Angeles Police Department Uniform
* The motto “To Protect and to Serve”
* The letters “LAPD”
* Any other mark-design-motto-insignia that is readily identifiable with and/or associated with the Los Angeles Police Department

Please submit via procedural questions for script research, they are encouraged to submit the request in writing. LAPD ETU finds a subject matter expert in the Department to answer the questions. For ongoing technical consulting on entertainment projects, the requestor is given contact information for the Los Angeles Police Protective League and instructed to call for a possible referral.

Granted with Commanding Officer’s approval. Requestor will need to have a photo ID and is required to sign LAPD’s standard Ride Along Waiver before leaving the station on patrol with a supervisor. No filming, recording, or photography is allowed.

LAPD ETU frequently receives requests from entertainment companies wanting to base episodes or feature length documentaries on past homicides. These inquiries are forwarded directly to the Commanding Officer of Robbery Homicide for consideration, and are generally declined.

On occasion the Commanding Officer will approve a request provided the case resulted in a conviction, casts the LAPD in a positive light, and all possibilities of appeal have been exhausted. Filming of detectives in usually limited to four hours or less. Detectives often appear in professional business attire to avoid the necessity for a Trademark Agreement.

Pending Commanding Officer’s approval, set design tours are granted to entertainment production companies pursuant to the terms of our standard Access Agreement.

Must secure filming permit from Film LA. We understand student filmmakers may not have a budget for location fees, insurance requirements, and police oversight. Students filming is:

* Restricted to public sidewalks or across the street
* Must not show Registered Trademarks of the LAPD
* Must not impede public access to LAPD property
* Must not show LAPD officers in uniform
* Must not show private citizens without their prior written consent

Please submit requests to have an LAPD officer appear as a guest on a talk show to LAPD Media Relations Division at PIO@LAPD.online

LAPD ETU can help with one or two questions. For more in depth technical and tactical questions for ongoing entertainment projects, we refer the requestor to contact the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

Pending Commanding Officer’s approval, tours are granted to entertainment production companies pursuant to the terms of our standard Access Agreement.

Ahmanson Recruit Training Center
5651 West Manchester Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90045


Inquiries to film on the obstacle course are forwarded directly to the Commanding Officer of Training Division for consideration, and are generally declined, as the smallest size production footprint impacts operations.

Elysian Park Police Academy
1880 North Academy Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90012


For filming requests please contact Ruben Crane, General Manager of the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club (LAPRAAC) at 323-221-5222 lapraac.org. Elysian Park Police Academy is not a city owned property and does not require LAPD ETU approval.

Edward M. Davis Training Facility
12001 Blucher Avenue, Granada Hills
Los Angeles, CA 91344


Inquiries to film on the obstacle course are forwarded directly to the Commanding Officer of Training Division for consideration, and are generally declined, as the smallest size production footprint impacts operations.