New York (August 19, 2005) – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today announced that it is advising its members to no longer purchase or carry police costumes in the New York City area – even to jobs that require the use of such costumes. The new guidance comes as the result of an apparent shift in City policy that puts professional actors at risk of arrest if found to be carrying police costumes.
Understanding the serious security concerns facing New York, Screen Actors Guild has spent the past four months working in cooperation with City officials to address the New York Police Department policy covering the many actors who regularly portray police officers in shows like Law and Order. The NYPD has historically issued letters signed by the police commissioner that explicitly permit Guild members to purchase police uniforms. In recent weeks, however, it appears the NYPD has changed its policy.
“It has become increasingly clear that the City has revised its existing policy that allowed professional actors to purchase and carry police costumes to production jobs,” Guild spokesman Seth Oster said. “Given the unofficial information we have at this time, the Guild is compelled to advise actors to no longer purchase or carry police costumes in the New York City area. Additionally, we have asked the Bloomberg administration to promptly communicate its new policy, so that actors will not be penalized for going to work carrying a tool of their trade in the belief that their actions remain lawful.”
The Guild will hold a meeting on August 24, led by SAG New York President Paul Christie, for affected members to discuss the apparent change in City policy.
Oster added: “The Bloomberg administration has been a steadfast supporter of increased film and television production in New York City. We appreciate that the administration and NYPD are taking into consideration the needs of working actors as it creates and implements this new policy. We are prepared to continue to work with City officials on a policy that, first and foremost, protects the people of New York and that is in the best interests of all parties.”