Yesterday we had a report that there was an attempted child abduction in a local community. We called the respective police. The officer we talked to said the chief will be away for two weeks.

No other officer is permitted to give information said the patrolman to which we spoke.

Let's get this straight: All we want to do is verify if an attempted child abduction occurred, so we can notify the public, and police won't cooperate.

We want to notify people for two reasons:

1. Although parents should always be vigilant, if a local abduction attempt occurred they should be even more cautious.

2. Maybe someone witnessed the alleged incident if it occurred and they can provide additional information to the police.

There's a third concern. If we in the media can't get answers from local police, who are paid by taxpayer dollars, then how can the general public get information?

We have always strived to work with local police. In the overwhelming majority of departments, we have a great working relationship. We're there when they have public service announcements. We cover their events.

Police always say they strive to serve and protect. That protection is compromised when they fail to release information that can help the public, such as verifying whether or not there was an attempted child abduction.

Possibly we should have contacted the mayor of that municipality. The mayor is in charge of the police department.

Perhaps mayors should ask their department to work with the media to better inform the public.

With municipalities cutting police budgets all over the place, it would sound logical that the police would want the public to know they are out there doing their job.

Some departments send us faxes of incidents on a regular basis. Those faxes don't always come from the chief.

Police officers are schooled to know what information they can release. A good leader delegates authority and allows its workers to function without fear; without brow-beating.

We also wish those departments who never give us any information would show a little more respect to the people they serve and start providing us with information.

So, was there an attempted child abduction?

We've been informed by other sources that there wasn't.

Why couldn't the police officer just tell us that?

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com