Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cop Bloggers

An English Police Constable is probably in hot water now that his identity has become public knowledge.

"The officer also criticised and ridiculed “a number of senior politicians” and advised members of the public under police investigation to “complain about every officer . . . show no respect to the legal system or anybody working in it”.

"Some of the blog’s best-read sections, which on occasion attracted half a million readers a week, were anecdotes about cases on which Mr Horton had worked. The people and places were made anonymous and details changed, but they could still be traced back to real prosecutions."

Public servants (i.e. police officers, clerks, etc) walk a fine line when they decide to blog. Blogs can be a great public relations tool such as Houston Police Chief's blog. They can tell positive stories about the department that the media refuse to touch and counter the image the media creates that nothing good is being done. However, these blogs usually read like press releases. The reason I started this blog is I wanted to chronicle things I've experienced, and others. I have always felt police agencies do themselves a big disservice about being tight lipped when bad news flies on the front page or on the 6 o'clock broadcast. Police agencies should either say if there is a problem they'll deal with it, if there is no problem then that should be broadcasted as well. Over the last few years cops have discovered blogging and felt the same way I did. Some just want to share their stories with the public. Some use it as a pedestal to air their grievances. Yet some go even farther and attack people by name and there lies the double edged sword. These guys see themselves as whistle blowers. Yet half the time they only tell their side of the story which casts them as the victim. Most officers will own up to their mistakes. Lord knows I've had to own up to a few over the years. Yet there are some who refuse to believe they are wrong and will argue with God himself over it.

Police agencies by their very nature aren't too fond of unauthorized bloggers. No agency likes to have their dirty laundry aired and all departments have dirty laundry. Now, some may say "the public has a right to know!" Wrong! The public doesn't need to know everything. Every business has its skeletons and if they want to know everything that goes on in a police department then they should open their closet doors and reveal their skeletons. Naturally police agencies are usually tight lipped about internal matters. The last thing they want is their closet door to be opened. My department has its skeletons but I will never reveal them. For one, it's not my business, and two I don't want them coming after me.

Overall, I think cop bloggers are great, as are prosecutor and defense lawyer bloggers. You can learn some interesting things. I like the defense lawyer blogs because I can learn how they see the world and can learn some of their tricks in court. You can also learn there is a side to life that is kept from the public eye. You can also learn there is an explanation for all our madness. What do you think?

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