Saturday, October 22, 2011

CMPD's Information Shutdown to Citizens & Media Outlets

I started this crime blog in February of 2006 and soon thereafter CMPD granted me 'media' access to all of the same information provided by the CMPD to the media outlets.

At that time, Darrell Stephens was CMPD’s Chief of Police and he was dedicated to working with the media and citizens to provide accurate and updated crime information on a daily basis.

In January of 2007, CMPD re-designed its website and established public access to a '911 calls for service' feature.  This allowed citizens to see all 911 calls for service within an 8-hour time frame.  The log could be searched by police division and/or time period.  (Email Announcement)

In September of 2007, CMPD added the 'Significant Event Log' feature to its website. (I tracked almost daily here) Prior to the Significant Event Log, CMPD would email the media a 'Watch Commanders Report' on a daily basis.  The SE Log allowed Charlotte citizens to see all major crimes (robberies, sexual assaults, etc) that occurred in Charlotte within a 24-hour time period. (Email Announcement)

After Rodney Monroe was elected Chief of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, both of the online crime resources mentioned above were quickly removed from the CMPD website without any explanation.  CMPD kept the archaic 'Crime Mapping' feature but it is difficult to use, is only updated once per week and does not provide citizens with any detailed information, I consider it pointless!

In addition, CMPD Public Information Officers have nearly stopped sending media briefs unless it is a homicide, serious accident, electronic monitoring cut & run and sometimes we get lucky and receive surveillance photos of a wanted subject. Needless to say, since Chief Monroe's tenure, CMPD has nearly stopped communicating crime information to the public and media.  WHY?

In the past two years, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has taken a disconcerting direction in the way it handles real-time crime information.  The changes in practice have been hush-hush and done without any justification.  The CMPD has changed from being one of the most open police departments in NC to one of the most restrictive, as it relates to public crime information access. 

In my opinion, the public has the right to access real-time crime information as we did before and we shouldn't be denied it any longer!  Police Chief Rodney Monroe was hired to deal with crime in
Charlotte but in reality his duties have included restricting the public's 'right to know' what crime is happening around us.

The only way this nonsense will STOP is if enough citizens speak up!  Check out this post by the Cedar Posts blog and write our Mayor and City Council members today demanding CMPD restore public access to crime information in Charlotte.   I also suggest Chief Monroe and the Public Information Officers read this article as "community policing" includes keeping citizens informed!