Friday, March 30, 2012

What Were They Thinking?

The Sanford, Florida police department hired a public relations company to help them deal with the news media in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

This statement was apparently prepared by the PR agency and released by the Sanford Police
Department March 28:

Sanford, Fl – March 28, 2012 — The City of Sanford kindly requests that members of the media refrain from approaching, phoning or emailing city employees when they are in their roles as private citizens. It has come to light that there have been a few incidents where city staff were followed and approached at their home or in settings outside of working hours.

Law enforcement officials will not hesitate to make an arrest for stalking.

I spent 35 years as a reporter, anchor and news manager before joining the Institute for Crisis Management almost 20-years ago.  I was never threatened with arrest while trying to get a public official to answer questions while at work or any other time or place.

I suppose you could make an argument that any reporter who covers Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich from state to state covering their campaign for the presidential nomination is “stalking” them and if the coverage is unfavorable have them arrested!
It was no surprise that 24-hours later, the city issued this statement:

On March 28, 2012 the City of Sanford issued Media Advisory Number 23 (Press Release 23). Upon reevaluation, it is clear that portions of that Advisory were improvidently issued. The first two paragraphs of that Advisory are hereby rescinded.

I considered a career in law enforcement – worked with law enforcement off and on over the years and admire the young men and women who seek a career in law enforcement because they want to help people.
I worry myself sick, sometimes, when I encounter young people who go into law enforcement because they want a “power trip.”

We get called to help city, county and state governments from time to time, and when the first Sanford news release was posted I thought – what are they thinking?  I included the Mayor as well as the Chief of Police.

Then, the following day I got that question answered—they were not thinking.  Thank goodness the decision maker’s brain kicked into gear before the community suffered another permanent black eye.

No comments:

Post a Comment