Often we get emails or computer messages from readers about the omission of police-related information in various municipalities. The messages complain that we leave out important happenings such as arrests, burglaries, vandalism, serious accidents, etc.
One recent message via our website stated:
"Checking your police-logs reports during the past two weeks I haven't noticed any mention of break-ins in (a local township). Our son's house (as well as two other houses on/off Beaver Run Road) was broken into and he lost about $6,000 worth of stuff, including money, coin and comic book collections and a registered rifle.
"Do you only report where State Police are involved, in different counties? And, if so, why not local police logs? Word-of-mouth seems the only way to make these activities known in the area."
It's also frustrating to us in the media when we don't receive information from some of the police departments.
It used to be that we would call every police department on the phone daily. Now we have e mail and fax machines which should make the conveying of police information easier for everyone involved.
We believe that the citizens should be kept informed, especially of burglaries and other serious crimes going on locally. Police keep saying that to solve such crimes the public has to get involved. We agree. But the police should also become more involved in cooperating with the public by supplying the media with information.
It's not just burglaries that aren't reported.
We can cite numerous traffic accidents which have occurred in the area in which we couldn't get the information from the local police. In some cases, the police chief said the investigating officer didn't complete the report and names weren't available.
We've had cases of police chiefs promising to send us information on traffic accidents, but never followed through. Is this how they cooperate with the public?
Mayors, who are elected officials, are in charge of the police departments. They should put pressure on their chiefs and officers to let the public know what's happening in their respective municipalities.
If the mayors refuse to do this, then citizens should remember this during election years.
Police reports are public records, but too often aren't made public.
We get daily reports from the various state police barracks. If only local police would be as conscientious.
There are a few local police departments which are very good at providing public information.
Unfortunately, they are in the minority. In too many cases, not only don't we receive public information, we can't even reach the departments to ask for such info.
If you don't see police reports for your municipality, check with the mayor or township supervisors. If they prefer acting under a shroud of secrecy, maybe they're not really public officials.
Police reports can be faxed to: 610-826-9608 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ron Gower