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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  The Column  >  Reporter Gets it Right


The Column





Reporter Gets it Right
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, September 8
, 2009 11:17 a.m.

As police officers, we have a unique insight into the media.  We read the story the next day, but unlike most, we were there when the story unfolded.  And all too often, we’ve seen the media get it terribly wrong or not get the whole story.


But our biggest complaint, though, would have to be when newspapers print accusations against fellow officers or law enforcement in general and never bother to challenge the accuser. 

In following the saga out of Atlantic City where the mayor suspended the police department’s K-9 unit due to supposed “daily complaints,” (Read our current editorial on the situation) we came across a refreshing surprise.

The story we would have expected would have been several paragraphs listing the mayor’s accusations followed by another paragraph or two of more accusations by some local activist followed by an obligatory one-sentence comment by the police department or police union.


However, what we found was the mayor being challenged on his accusations.

A few quotes from the Press of Atlantic City article:

The mayor said he pulled the dogs off duty in response to his office being "besieged with complaints" about the alleged misuse of the dogs. That order did not come with documented proof of improprieties, nor did it offer any statistics regarding the amount of official complaints related to the K-9 Unit.

But the only proof he offered to his office's claims of widespread allegations were those made at recent City Council meetings. He said every meeting features allegations about the police dogs.

Although nearly every council meeting includes at least one resident complaint about the Police Department, most relate to claims of officers' excessive force and few have specified problems with the dogs before Langford first questioned their use.

This is a great example of – as Paul Harvey would say -  “the rest of the story.”  Including these facts puts the situation in a completely different light and allows the reader to draw a more informed opinion.

We know that reporters have to write the story, and we know that, often, we are the story.   We don’t object to reporters covering and printing accusations against us, and we don’t expect the media to be our friend.

We just ask for what was done here.  We just ask for the whole picture.

Anyway, we don’t often write pieces like this, but nice job to the Press of Atlantic City and reporter Michael Clark.



Share your Thoughts on This Article

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission. 


Your Comments


Mike Clark is definitely a straight shooter.  He does a good job.

Nice change.  Hope to see more of it.


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