Letter to the Editor

In response to 'County vehicle damages Corvette'

Monday, August 27, 2012

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.

Justin Davis


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  • I think that your name would've been enough.When I read the article I too was taken aback. When your address was printed I didn't think that was very bright considering what you do for a living,and the kind of problems that could arise from having that information.I sure that just about everyone in town already knows who you are and what you do.My brother was in L.E.in a small Nebraska town and EVERYONE knew him and when he had visitors and where they were from and when they left. It was very unprofessional of the Gazette to do what they did.Aside from the ribbing that you've probably taken already the other stuff was totally unnecessary.

    -- Posted by Wildhorse on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 2:51 PM
  • Very well stated Justin.

    Thanks for your work in the community.

    -- Posted by Husker23 on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 4:05 PM
  • I really don't know why anyone should need to know your address when you are plastered all over a story whether you are a perp or a victim. What does it add to the story anyway. I feel for you Justin. This was classless and unnecessary. Thanks for your commitment to public safety.

    -- Posted by Justin76 on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 4:18 PM
  • Shame on you, McCook Gazette! I think someone needs to start thinking with their noggin a little more about the 'relevancy' to the stories you decide to print... as (also in law-enforcement) I personally agree with Mr. Davis very strongly that his home address was completely unnecessary to the topic at hand. A little common sense goes a long way. Heck, you shoulda just printed his phone number, too! As funny as that sounds, in the grand scheme, it's actually LESS dangerous. C'mon, Gazette .... you may be small town, but this is unacceptable.

    -- Posted by SWHUSKER on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 5:25 PM
  • *

    Certainly in the apology letter forthcoming by the gazette; the reporter responsible will blatantly brandish their own name, address, and immediate family members?

    -- Posted by Mickel on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 5:58 PM
  • Well, well, well, looks like the address has been removed from the original online posting. Is that a sign of guilt I'm sensing? Now what about the papers all over the area? If the mistaken wasn't made in the first place you wouldn't have this issue. Good job Bruce Baker, City Editor. (Name and title, no address) Are you willing to post your own address sir?

    -- Posted by Husker55 on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 6:50 PM
  • mistake*

    -- Posted by Husker55 on Mon, Aug 27, 2012, at 7:06 PM
  • Mr. Davis certainly did not deserve this treatment. The city of McCook is fortunate to have an officer of this caliber and his privacy is very important. Mr. Davis is a former employee and I can vouch for his hard work and character, thus it is sad to see his dedication to the city treated in such an immature manner. A FRONT PAGE apology can not fix the damage done but does seem the least that could be done.

    -- Posted by jakebo on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 6:39 AM
  • It's early and my typing isn't the best, I meant for my post to state "the City of McCook and County" and later it was supposed to read "the city/county".

    With this dreadful mistake of mine the Gazette may wish to list my name, address, phone number and social security number on the front page of today's newspaper.

    -- Posted by jakebo on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 6:50 AM
  • Having had friends in law enforcement and their houses vandalized and trashed because their address was listed, I think this is unacceptable. I'm so tired of law enforcement being criticized for doing their job. Let's let everyone have a free for all and see how many of you would then complain not enough law enforcement. You can't have it both ways. Kuddos to this man for what he does. Now let's have a little respect for him on his off duty and second where's the apology.

    -- Posted by smalltownnebraskagirl on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 9:58 AM
  • One need go no further than the article about the motorcycle/car collision on this page to see an example of the name, age, and home address of the driver of the car that hit the motorcycle. I thought this was standard practice. I guess he wants to be treated differently because he's a cop. But he admitted that others have found his residence in the past and it is public information so I don't see what the problem is.

    I saw the original article and didn't even notice what his home address is, but after reading the whiny letter above I went to the Red Willow County property search and found an address next to his name in seconds. He probably will want an apology from them now. If he really wanted anonymity, why would he write an open letter to the editor for all to see? A personal letter or phone call would have made more sense. He just brought more publicity to himself than he already had. I'm guessing he has a Sheriff's Dept. car parked at his house a few hours a day. Does that frighten him too?

    Did he get a ticket for his "little mistake" like many of us would? When he pulls someone over, does his excuse of "things happen" get out of a ticket? He's lucky he is held in lower standards than a UPS driver, for instance, who would be fired on the spot for allowing a company vehicle to roll away and damage a parked car. What if his car had missed the corvette and rolled down the hill into a place of business and caused numerous casualties?

    If he can't stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen.

    -- Posted by bbens on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 12:00 PM
  • Wow bbens, you've got a lot of disrespect towards Law Enforcement. I believe it takes nerves of steel to do what Justin does and should be commended. He upholds the law as we should ALL respect! Secondly, I personally don't believe ANY addresses should be given out in the newspaper unless it is for our protection (i.e.; sex offenders). These men and women have enough issues to deal with without people harrassing them once they know their address. As to whether or not he would get a ticket for his "little mistake"...I don't believe even if you were in a "little mistake" that you would get a ticket because it was on private property. You would exchange insurance information and have a police report on file. You'd have to confirm that with the Department. I think you need to think about who protects you every day and appreciate them a heck of alot more! As far as a UPS driver being in the same incident..HA! There is one particular UPS driver that has been in several accidents and is still driving for them! Need to get your facts straight! These law enforcement individuals place their lives on the line for us citizens. They aren't perfect (neither are you) but they do deserve your respect!

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Aug 28, 2012, at 4:44 PM
  • Maybe you should ask a UPS driver what would happen to them if they had a roll away accident as described in the article.

    Once you get YOUR facts straight report back to us.

    -- Posted by bbens on Wed, Aug 29, 2012, at 8:04 AM
  • Why are you so bent on UPS? I personally do know a UPS driver who is currently still employed after 25+ years who has had 3 accidents (2 of which were his fault). HE'S STILL EMPLOYED WITH THEM! Regardless, I believe law enforcement deserves our respect and privacy.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Aug 29, 2012, at 8:41 AM
  • your reading comprehension lacks

    face it now

    and work to improve it

    -- Posted by bbens on Wed, Aug 29, 2012, at 10:33 PM
  • The McCook Gazette seems to serve the purpose of a local gossip paper. Loved one die in a car accident? See a picture on the front page! Cop makes an accident? Let's tell everyone where he lives! They should hold themselves to higher journalism ethics.

    -- Posted by cars100 on Thu, Aug 30, 2012, at 12:55 PM
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