Thursday, March 09, 2006

They Call This A TV News Investigation?

A friend e-mailed me this TV news story and I thought it deserved some attention on my blog. This came from Miami-Fort Lauderdale’s CBS4. It’s a typical “sweeps story” designed to boost their February ratings. I’ve seen this same story done in other TV markets and it always seems to yield the same results.

The deal is they send in some junior producer with the sneaky-cam into a police station and have him ask for a form to make a beef against a cop. Most departments simply ask what happened and forward the preliminary information to internal affairs. For these stories the producers act squirrelly and I’m sure the officers notice suspicious bulges in the producer’s clothing from the hidden camera equipment.

The truth is people with real complaints against officers are seldom afraid to complain and answer any and all questions put to them. This behavior by the producer would not seem right to any experienced officer for someone with a complaint.

The asking for a form is truly bogus since each and every department will initiate an internal investigation on the simplest of written letters. It’s the practice of nearly every police department in America for the officers to collect the information and write all reports instead of the citizens.

This story was a cheap way to hype their investigative prowess and get more viewers. I find that the story is inflammatory and misleading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here at the New York CCRB, we do receive complaints from time to time from individuals who state that an individual desk sergeant would not take their complaint. Usually this is because an individual sergeant doesn't feel the complaint in question should rise to the CCRB, or is familiar enough with the situation that he believes the complaint is unmerited, or even he is just in a crummy mood that day. The CCRB, however, takes direct complaints, and has our number posted in every precinct, and the department as a whole has very good compliance with keeping these signs posted.