To release the info or not, that is the burning question

To release the info or not, that is the burning question


By Nicole Kriesel

Did you know it’s a well-known fact that wherever we are, we are always within about six feet of a spider? It’s true. They are everywhere!

Do you really want or need to be reminded about this fact constantly, or would that be enough to drive you absolutely mad? Now, if it was a black widow or brown recluse spider, you might want to know so that you are able to take precautions. Otherwise, no thank you!

The truth is, criminal behaviour is no different. It’s everywhere, and is happening around us constantly in varying degrees. It ranges from minor traffic violations and shoplifting all the way up to auto theft, drug crimes, and yes, even violent crimes like assault and homicide.

The question to be asked, however, is: Does this specific incident pose an immediate safety risk to the public? More often than not, the answer is no. Even both of the recent homicides near Oliver were believed to be targeted, as the individuals were said to be known to each other. It was not a case of a rampant gunman on the loose and we need to trust that our local law enforcement would inform us when public risk is imminent.

A discussion with Oliver RCMP Cpl. Christina Tarasoff reveals that there are many factors that dictate whether the details of an incident are released to the media. Confidentiality and privacy are extremely crucial at times and releasing any details could hinder an ongoing investigation.

Many arrests are also made where the details need to remain private for the protection of vulnerable individuals that are victims of sex crimes, domestic assault and child abuse.

Many happenings are just not in the public’s interest to release. There is no need to inform the public that a prohibited driver was arrested, or the fact someone was charged for mischief because they kicked a fence. Maybe they’ve just had a really bad day and made a poor choice because they were upset.

Corporal Tarasoff is quoted, “Believe it or not sometimes good people make bad decisions. We as police do not want to damage someone’s reputation in a small community because they slipped up (once). It happens all the time and people learn from their mistakes. It would not make sense to do a media release on something like that.”

The amount of hours required to prepare a media release for every occurrence would certainly be a misuse of the valuable and already-stretched schedule that our dedicated officers are currently juggling. Corporal Tarasoff has also said that there are times when she is able to summarize events to the media, as she has done in the past, however, the time is not always available as she is needed elsewhere.

Every hour our officers spend behind the desk takes one hour away from allowing them to be where they are most needed; out in the community, serving and protecting. How would you rather they spend their time and energy (and not to mention, our tax dollars)?

Get to know your neighbours and look out for each other. Share, inform and educate each other when you have had an incident and be proactive. Do we really need to know about every single incident that occurs in our little town? Does the general public really even want to know? The answer is no!

Besides, if you keep pointing out all of the spiders, that’s all you’re going to see, and who needs that?