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The answer is no.
February 28, 2008 - Pat Beck
No, I cannot keep your name out of the newspaper.
I get them at home, I get them at my office, the phone calls that begin with: “I got a ticket last night and I was told that I could ask you to not print it.”
"I was pulled over for DUI but I don't want my name in the newspaper and if you print it, I'll sue you?
My reply usually is: “I’m sorry someone told you that this could be done, because it is not true. We print everyone’s name on arrest reports received.”
The conversation many times escalates to the caller saying they know first hand that so and so got arrested and their name never appeared in print.
I can only assure callers and readers that we never keep a name from being published. We do not give any special considerations.
Has it happened that someone who was arrested did not have his or her name published? I am sure it has and the reason can be as simple as a human error. Through the years we may have missed a report or two. But considering the number of reports we go through day in and day out, that’s not unusual.
Or the police agency may have decided not to provide that report to us. For example, State police at Mayfield this week refused to name the "roughly eight" people arrested after a fight at Sport Island Pub.
On a daily basis we process numerous reports received from law enforcement agencies. The Gloversville Police Department could be given the highest mark on faxing to us on a daily basis. The Johnstown Police Department is very sporadic. At the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department a report is posted and copied by hand by a reporter or at times they do fax them, while the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department does fax us on a regular basis. The State Troopers –wait for us to call.
The policy of The Leader-Herald – for that matter most newspapers – is to run all arrest reports, incident reports and other public information generated by local law enforcement each day.
As the community's newspaper of record, we print the information as part of our daily report and it's information considered public record under law.
Not everyone agrees with our right to print the information. They see it as an invasion of privacy. But we believe it is information our readers want and expect. It's also helpful for people to see what incidents are reported to police and where they occur. People can see what's happening in their neighborhoods. It gives them the information they need to stay safe and take action, if necessary.
When I was a teenager, my mother would say to me, “just remember what ever you do, picture it as a headline in tomorrow’s newspaper and see if you can face what it will say.” My mom never lived long enough to see my career choice, and yet almost thirty years after her death as I am writing this blog, I can still hear her words.
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