It is just a fact of the industry in national and mainstream media that only the most dynamic stories get any air time or make it to print. Unfortunately law enforcement has seen its share of press lately and most of it has not been favorable.
Unlike large corporations law enforcement does not do damage control very well. We see everyday the spins that companies will do to offset some bad press. We don’t do that in law enforcement because we don’t spin the truth. We are a profession based on ethics , honor and truth. Spinning is not in our nature nor should it be.
But we should be telling our story instead of letting the mainstream media do so. We can tell the truth and thus offset much of the bad press just telling the world what we already do day in and day out.
As an example, recently two particular stories caught my attention as I am very familiar with both agencies. One agency had the officers hand out on patrol bottles of cold water to those they thought would need it during the high temperature days recently. The other agency had a video of an officer rescuing a fawn trapped in a fence. Both of those stories were on Facebook and the local papers. Neither would rise to the attention of the major news organizations but to me are major news nonetheless. They are major not because of the individual deeds but because they are both examples of what law enforcement does everyday and has always done.
The lesson to be learned is that if we don’t tell our story no one else will. We as a profession need to embrace the technology of the day such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s how much of the world communicates today and seemingly is making the mainstream media obsolete. We can use it to our advantage while maintaining our ethical standards and high moral values by just telling the truth about the good work we do day in and day out and have been doing for a long time.