In response to 'County vehicle damages Corvette'
While the Federal Government grants freedom to the media, there are some areas of content that are not specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. This causes personal information to be left in a "gray" area, and reporters/editors are left with morals and conscience to determine what is acceptable for distribution to the public once it is disclosed to them. I can understand how working in the media you may not have some of the same concerns as I do working in Law Enforcement. You do not know that on at least 4 separate occasions in the last year arrestees/suspects/defendants have threatened to harm myself, my family, my pets and my personal property. Despite all of the things that are said to me I have felt some security in knowing that although my home address may be available to the public, they will at least have to work to find it... until recently that is. Now all you need to do is read or listen to the news.
On 08/17/2012 while on duty I conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle I observed accelerating excessively to the point that its drive wheels lost traction with the pavement and spun for the better part of a block. Upon the vehicle pulling over I exited my cruiser after feeling the console shifter stop movement as I pushed it forward into the park position. I was mistaken, and the shifter had actually been stopped by my work cell phone which I thought I had tossed into a cup holder to keep it from being lost. While I was out of my cruiser, it idled in forward gear until it bumped into the suspect vehicle. There was minor damage to the suspect vehicle and none visible to my cruiser. It is my agency's policy not to investigate vehicle collisions that involve our vehicles and personal property. I requested another local Law Enforcement Officer be dispatched to take a report of the incident, Once the report was taken I contacted an agency supervisor and advised them of the collision and the steps that I had taken. I was under the impression that the issue was settled until I see that it made the front page news in the McCook Daily Gazette on 08/24/2012. I have to admit that I find it humorous that this story is front page material, as I know there is a lot more going on in the area that the public may benefit more from hearing about. As I read further I was shocked to see that not only my name and age were listed, but my title/rank, and home address as well. I have seen several stories pertaining to vehicle collisions in the paper since moving to McCook. But I do not recall seeing personal home addresses listed for the drivers. in this case it was only my information that was displayed; the other driver only had their town of residence listed.
I made a mistake that may or may not be news. Okay I get that. But why is it necessary to give out this much information about my personal life. I do not see how it is relevant to what you are reporting. I obviously work in law enforcement, where people tend to hold grudges with me for doing my job. Your own paper has noted that I have been one of several Officers testifying in some recent court cases, and you have printed several pictures of me with my name in the past so I know that most of your staff knows who I am and what I do. I guess the point is that I don't mind being the subject of a story reporting a "Mistake made by a COP!!", but please have a little respect for my personal life and my family as you are writing. As a member of the public, your personal safety and that of those close to you becomes the responsibility of my co-workers and I. Our job is to protect you from things that you may not know exist. Knowing what is out there makes it difficult enough to be away from my family in order to be there for yours when you need it. I have heard it said over and over again that "that stuff won't happen here." Well guess what, it does and it has. I have been approached on my doorstep and in my yard on separate occasions by people that I have arrested (and that was before my address was published). I work hard to just be a member of this community when I am off duty, and I would like that part of my life to be left alone.
Sadly, yes... cops run into things too. We can put on up to 200 miles in a daily shift and things happen. The fact that my incident was reported this way has led a lot of people to draw conclusions from it that are not true. It was written with such a slant that it is now state news. I am very disappointed that there was no professionalism or tact used in the fact gathering and reporting. I would like to also point out that should I ever need to write a report for you or your newspaper, it will be handled with integrity, and be factual and impartial as it should be.