The Woodbridge Burglaries

Today, I receive an email from the Hartford Police Department. Their Media and Communications Coordinator was responding to a request I had sent to be added to their distribution list.

Thank you for your email. I am always looking for new avenues/groups to get the HPD message and information out too - so I welcome your request and have added both Connecticut News Wire and your personal email as well. BTW, I also joined CT news wire. Happy New Year.

I set up the Connecticut News Wire earlier this year as a means for government agencies, elected officials, candidates, and advocacy organizations to get their message out to the people of Connecticut, especially to bloggers and citizen journalists.

I am pleased to find that the Hartford Police Department is interested in reaching out to the people of Connecticut to help make our State’s Capitol safer.

The importance of this sort of outreach was brought home to me this evening as I read an article in the New Haven Independent, After Burglary, Family Helps Find Suspects. It provides a great example of what happens when police departments and citizens work together. What is particularly striking is that suspects are believed to have been involved in the Woodbridge Burglaries that led to my request to receive press releases from the Woodbridge Police Department. The Woodbridge Police Department declined my request and several journalism organizations, freedom of information organizations and open government organizations have offered to assist me in gaining the public information I have requested.

Yet as the Hartford Police and the story in the New Haven Independent illustrate, there are better ways to promote community involvement in protecting our neighborhoods than police departments denying requests for public information from its citizens.

How are the police in your community trying to improve communications between citizens and the police department? What are you doing to help?