Until recently we have valued certain media relationships. That value in our media relations has all but vanaished. And it will take a lot to change that. The way the news media as whole has shifted its agenda in recent months to portraying our profession as something it is not has strained our relationship with even those who have earned a level of trust with us.
There are veteran police reporters who we have worked with over the years that we respect and have had complete trust in. They have been the reporters who take the time to fully understand the job we do, and why certain things happen the way they do. Those men & women have proven to respect the work we do, and try to get it right each and every time. We have given those reporters our confidence and respect; because, even if the story is negative at least it is factual, fair and balanced, and for that they have earned our trust. Unlike many of their associates, they are the reporters we will work with on stories or interviews.
There are others on our list, who have burned every possible bridge conceviable, who would not get even the time of day from us let alone an interview or story. They fail to recognize that the vast majority of law enforcement members execute their duties professionally, for relatively little pay, at great risk. News sources featuring stories of the police as truly heroic figures, who selflessly give of themselves to protect the public are surprisingly rare. We fully understand when incidents involving use of force happen, or any event that would strain the public trust in law enforcement, the public has a right to know if it was justified or not. The public has a complete right to know what happened. In fact we insist on the public being accurately informed.
The best tool for getting that information to the public is the news media. That is where many reporters fall short and the problems begin. Reliable facts about the outcome of a critical incident cannot be established until thorough investigations are completed. Fiction, speculation, one sided reporting, and opinions generated by certain reporters are not facts and only create inaccurate first impressions that render it very difficult for the public to make a fair and accurate final assessment of an officer’s actions.
So in light of the reporting of events in Ferguson and the way the media has handled recent issues in the Denver Sheriff’s Department here is our message to the news media:
"Screw you CNN, MSNBC, (included is the "The Denver Post") and all the others (print, TV, and Internet) that are campaigning hard to portray our profession and the brave men & women that serve in it as something we are not. It is not only police officers who have a duty to act responsibly. The media also owes a duty to the community to report facts accurately and fairly.
You will never see a story from them headlined "Today across America over 900,000 law enforcement officers did their job serving the citizens they are sworn to protect. And some died or were hurt in doing so."
To those of you who put on the badge in service to your communities the below message is for you:
“Whatever your night brings, home with family or out on the streets being the warriors that you are. Know that when lay your head down to rest you can do it knowing that everything you fight for is based on this fact. There is still good to fight for. Be safe and watch out for each other. Treasure every moment with your loved ones and fight with everything you have to go home to them. Everyone goes home!!!!”
~~~Kelly – “Surviving the Shield PTSD and Public Safety”