'Media personnel who are caught trying to sneak residents back into areas under mandatory evacuation will not be allowed access' is how the statement from San Diego Police Department spokesperson Mónica Muñoz read. Muñoz fired off the missive to media outlets after some TV reporters had been caught trying to sneak a resident into an evacuated area in Rancho Bernardo. The resident gets to see if he still has a house, and the TV crew gets to film his reaction; both sides win. Except the area was under mandatory evacuation, and the resident shouldn't be there. When the van pulled up, the police searched it, found a guy without a credential and denied the crew access. The first time this happened, Muñoz issued her statement. But as word of the idea spread, someone else tried the same trick and was stopped. Muñoz wouldn't say which station owned either van, but none of the local stations owned up to the incidents when CityBeat contacted them. One producer suggested a national news team might have been the culprit. The incident was not the only clash. A Fox6 news crew reporting from an assistance center in Rancho Bernardo was asked by an officer to change their location minutes before a live broadcast. A public e-mail from Fox6 managing editor Greg Todd said it was the same officer who had given the van the space in the first place. 'We cannot be told what to do and where to go for our own safety or because a city worker just doesn't like what we are doing,' Greg wrote.In another incident, KPBS radio reporter Kenny Goldberg was denied access to a Rancho Bernardo local assistance center. KPBS has filed a complaint with the police department. California law allows reporters complete access to disaster areas, as long as they do not interfere with emergency operations. The law was affirmed in a lawsuit filed by a TV cameraman who'd been arrested by a San Diego cop for refusing to leave the site of the 1978 PSA plane crash in North Park. He sued and lost, but an appeals court later ruled that safety was not sufficient reason to exclude the press. 'Press access must be unrestricted unless police personnel at the scene reasonably determine such unrestricted access will interfere with emergency operations,' the court ruled.The ACLU has begun an investigation into whether the police overstepped their bounds. 'This is one of those times when it's more important than ever for the media to cover the story fully and ask the questions that may or may not be in the interest of civic leaders,' ACLU spokesperson Rebecca Rauber told CityBeat. 'We want to make sure the press here in San Diego remains free.'