Crusader staff report
A two-and-a-half-year battle to obtain an official press pass from the Chicago Police Department finally came to an end Wednesday, May 30 when reporter Erick Johnson walked out of the police headquarters with his media credentials.
Johnson and the Crusader applied for the media credentials on January 28, 2016, but what normally takes a month for news outlets took 853 days for the newspaper to obtain. After numerous messages and follow ups, the Crusader on Monday, May 21, emailed the Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s press staff about the problem. After waiting more than two-and-a-half-years, Johnson was given the press pass which took 30 minutes to process at police headquarters at 35th and Michigan Avenue.
CPD grants press credentials that gives journalists from newspapers, radio and television stations limited access to crime scenes and stories related to the police department. The process requires paperwork and employment verification.
After several months, the Crusader began leaving messages on the news affairs telephone line. On several occasions, the Crusader was told that the department that grants press passes was in transition from a change in personnel.
When Johnson asked why it took so long in obtaining a press pass, a staff member simply said the paperwork “got stuck.” No other explanation or apologies were given after the extraordinarily long delay.