By Gary Kopycinski
Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- In the midst of unprecedented language by a United States President directed against the press, the Park Forest Police Department issued a welcome statement to members of the media Sunday. The statement was made via the department’s Facebook page, and spoke of the “essential role” of the press.
While President Trump campaigned on a narrative of alleged unfair treatment by the press, he took things much further Friday when he declared on Twitter the media “the enemy of the American People!” [sic] This, in spite of the fact that candidate Trump’s declarations during the presidential primary and general campaign were aired virtually unfiltered and unquestioned by that same press.
There were exceptions, of course. But it took a while for many national members of the media to wake up, ask the appropriate questions.
This is the president’s now infamous Tweet:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
So, it was refreshing, today, to read the following today from the PFPD:
Our social media posts are almost always to a general audience, however this morning we would like to write to our partners in the news media.
We recognize that there has sometimes been a history of a contentious relationships between law enforcement and the news media, for a variety of reasons and of varying intensity in different geographical locations or at different times in the history of our country. Thankfully, we have only rarely know that type of relationship here at the Park Forest Police Department.
But more importantly, we recognize the very positive relationships that exist between law enforcement and the news media, the many partnerships in telling important stories and in providing crucial information to the public, the good faith efforts to hold public agencies and institutions accountable, and moreover, we recognize the extremely important role that the media play in democratic systems.
Correction. It is an essential role.
While perhaps this message would be more timely on World Press Freedom Day (link added), which is still over two months away, it also seems that perhaps, given the general national rhetoric, a Sunday morning in February is just as timely.
To those who serve in the news media, thank you for the work that you do, and we affirm our commitment to serve and protect you, as we do every citizen, and to work in partnership wherever we are able.
First, I want to thank the members of the Park Forest Police Department right back. In my experience, with extremely few exceptions since serving as a Village Trustee and subsequently launching eNews Park Forest, the members and brass of the Park Forest Police Department have proven to be professional, courteous, and largely forthcoming with information on police matters when asked. More often than not, the department has gone above and beyond, releasing information to protect the public, as they did yesterday regarding an incident on Blackhawk Drive:
This morning there was police activity on the 200 block of Blackhawk Drive after a man who was alleged to have injured his wife in a domestic dispute refused to come out and was reported to have armed himself with a firearm. Police were able to convince the man to surrender and he was taken into custody without further incident. The investigation continues and the area is now clear.
Members of the community adjacent to the incident were alerted via CodeRed
“It was by SouthCom,” Village Manager Tom Mick said, letting people know there was an incident. When police convinced the suspect to surrender, another CodeRed announcement gave the community an “all clear.”
The man did not have a gun, according to Manager Mick.
“I’m very appreciative of the way they keep us informed,” resident Glenna Hennessy told eNews Park Forest. “Our police department is second to none.”
Hennessy said she and her husband, Jim, received phone and email alerts regarding the incident and the subsequent all-clear.
I want to concur with Ms. Hennessy: our police department is second to none. This does not mean our police are perfect, nor will we back down from doing our job as members of the media. As journalists, we are accountable to our readers, and it is our job to report on public officials, holding them accountable as well.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 1,230 journalists have been killed since 1992, delineating between those murdered, those killed in crossfire / combat, and those killed on dangerous assignment. Accusations by the President of the United States labeling journalists “the enemy of the American People!” are irresponsible and dangerous.
Our police put their lives on the line every day, and we salute them.
So, we are very grateful for the solid relationship we’ve built with the Park Forest Police Department, and we are proud to call them our partners as well.
Gary Kopycinski is editor and publisher of eNews Park Forest. Follow him on Twitter at @GaryKopycinski and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FrodoJRR, or email him at [email protected]. He served as a village trustee in Park Forest from 2003-2006, and then again from 2007-2015. He is not a candidate in the April 4, 2017, Consolidated Election.
eNews Park Forest, Inc. is an independent media company and is not affiliated with the Village of Park Forest in any way.
You have used up your free articles for this month. To continue reading click here to login or subscribe.