Police departments have various ways of making life tough on those of us who have the esteemed calling of police reporter.
Their favorite is the police report that says: "This is a secret investigation. If we tell you about it, we'll have to kill you. Still wanna know?"Which is just a scare tactic.
It's also their way of saying, "We don't gotta clue whodunwhut or how."
But the cops have other means of keeping upstart reporters in their places: parking privileges and press rooms.
As this column was being written, the police department was moving from the old Metropolitan Hall of Justice, 450 S. Third East, into new quarters at 301 E. Second South, the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, which really wasn't too safe until they removed billions of tons of asbestos a few months ago. The department should be moved in by, oh, the turn of the century, I've calculated.
Since nobody bothered to tell me or my honorable Salt Lake Tribune colleague, Mike Carter, about what role we might play in the Big Transfer, we inquired.
"Press room? What press room?" was the most common response. Other responses have been edited out for taste.
According to informed sources, though, a press room wasn't even on the drawing boards until recent weeks - when we started inquiring.
Last week, I got to tour the new building with a police major, who hadn't the foggiest idea where he was going to park let alone where the press parking places were.
After consulting the blueprints, which didn't say "press room" anywhere on them, and conferring with several fire department officials, whom the police will share the building with, the major finally located the press room.
"Here it is, I think," he said.
Mike has since toured it and we've nicknamed it, affectionately, the "Press Closet" because of - you guessed it - its size, about 140 square feet, roughly the size of many contemporary residential bathrooms.
My colleague and I figure we can get two desks in there but only one chair, which we will share. That will leave us just enough room for a couch and a pillow, which are needed for stories that require special contemplation.
We've also decided there won't be room for TV reporters in the Press Closet. (This will be a good way for us newspaper reporters to finally make life tough on TV reporters, who make way too much money.)
For those of you who would like to visit us, it's located on the fifth floor at the end of the hallway, down a small corridor on your right, across from where they keep brooms and stuff.
Before getting on the elevator, you'll have to get a pass that says which floor you're visiting. Be sure not to get on the wrong floor or "you'll be challenged," said the good major. ("Challenged to what?" I asked myself. An arm wrestle? A sword fight?
And don't go to the top floor, where you might slip in the police chief's kitchen.
Ever since we learned the police were going to get a new-and-improved building, one with lots of windows, we just assumed we would get a new and improved press hangout with at least one window. Anything, we reasoned, would be better than the old Press Hole in the old Metropolitan Hall of Justice, which is right below the 10-story police/sheriff building.
Besides, a former police chief, whose name will remain anonymous (but it sounds kind of like Spud Weatherby), promised us a room with a view.
Lately, though, we've kind of grown fond of the old Press Hole.