Thursday, March 15, 2012

Charlotte Observer Gives Rodney Monroe a Free Pass Surprised?



The Charlotte Observer's Cleve R. Wootson penned a little "fluff piece" with the headline "How easily can you access police crime reports?"

The story ran in this morning's paper.

It started off like a real investigative report, but by the fourth paragraph it became a smooze up to CMPD public relations piece.

Wootson points out that the department started putting the Significant Event Log on line in 2007. The Significant Event Log is a 24 hour report on major crimes that seldom offers much detail, rather just the basics as to what type of crime, what time and where.

What Wooston doesn't mention is that the reason the report was put online, was to disseminate basic information about crimes that occurred over night in a efficient and timely manner.

He also failed to mention that this same information is required by law to be made available to the public. Although he points out that the information is not required to be put on line.

Wooston continues with:

But, in 2009, the log abruptly disappeared from the police department’s website.

Police initially said it was being reformatted. But months passed and the log didn’t return
.


Cedar's Take: The Observer fails to notice that this his how CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe rolls. The department has a clear history of lying until the truth is discovered by an outside source, then never bothering to explain why they lied.

When Wootson asked CMPD what happened to the SEL he received a statement that said the department removed the log to prevent inaccurate information from spreading.

Quoting CMPD's Rob Tufano: “The log was based essentially on real-time reporting, which meant that none of the information was vetted for accuracy or edited as the information changed over time,” “Follow-up investigations of a reported crime oftentimes results in the circumstances of a reported incident changing considerably.”

Tufano, as my grandmother used to say "Loves to talk out of both sides of this mouth."

And Wootson's failing as a reporter is amazing at this point. With the above statement Tufano admits that CMPD routinely edits and changes police reports. Something that the public has suspected all along.

or

That CMPD officers and duty captains are so incompetent that they can't be trusted to report crime correctly the first time.

Wootson points to the "crime mapping" system that is updated once a week as a good source for information about crimes.

What is lost on Tufano and Wootson is that the public wants the information in a timely manner. You wouldn't accept Bank of America only updating your account once a week, why should our Police Department pretend that they have a computer that is running on a DOS system when the taxpayers have shelled out millions for a state of the art computer system.

Then Wootson goes to Monroe supporter Patrick Cannon.

"City councilman Patrick Cannon, who chairs the council’s community safety committee, said the department and the city have received criticism from angry residents after something was erroneously reported in the significant event log. The errors are especially bad when they reinforce stereotypes about a particular section of town, Cannon said."

“That has happened for years, Cannon said. “You’d get painted with this broad brush.”


Cedar's Take: For years? Would that be since 2007? Or as I suspect years as in twenty or more years? I understand what Cannon is saying, when the public hears of a shooting they think black neighborhood, East Charlotte, Sugar Creek or Wilkinson Boulevard.

You don't even have to read between the lines, to understand what Cannon is saying. The truth is not always pleasant but this is not sudden perception brought on by the SEL, nor has it gone away with the removal of the SEL.

At this point the entire article goes off the tracks and jumps around the state pointing to how the police do it elsewhere.

The bottom line, sunshine laws require that the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department provide public access to police reports. Chief Stephens provided this access in a timely and unfettered way and Chief Monroe has drastically restricted this access.

The fact is the public has a right to know what is going on around them, no matter how unpleasant it may be. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department has an obligation to inform as well as protect.

This issue of the SEL is about transparency not about inaccuracy.

The Charlotte Observer has simply rolled over on this one, and I suspect that they will roll over when CMPD begins to encrypt their radio transmissions, a change that will coincide with the DNC 2012.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

"City councilman Patrick Cannon, who chairs the council’s community safety committee, said the department and the city have received criticism from angry residents after something was erroneously reported in the significant event log. The errors are especially bad when they reinforce stereotypes about a particular section of town, Cannon said."

“That has happened for years, Cannon said. “You’d get painted with this broad brush.”

Now correct me if I am wrong on this, but I remember hearing that if someone gets arrested and they later determine that it was the wrong person, their arrest, charges,and photo remains on the website. No problem. No concern for misreporting or painting with a broad brush there.

So why is it that the same policy of no changes is such a problem when it comes to the SEL?

Anonymous said...

Cedar,

There are points to what Tufano reported that are absolutely correct. Oftentimes a crime is reported initially and when Detectives follow-up with the "victim" it is found that they lied (Yes, people lie to the police), or fabricated a story to cover up for some wrong doing on their part. A lot of the reported crimes are later found to be false but it often takes a Detective to ask the tough questions in order to discover the untruths. A rookie road troop often does not have the experience to accomplish this. This is part of the reason why initial reports are often reclassified later.

Anonymous said...

Here's one way you can get arrested and have your arrest taken out of the system, even if you are guilty: you can be a cop.

Commit an assault or DUI, no problem. DA will get rid of it. CMPD will get rid of it. No trial needed, and your picture and arrest record aren't in the system.

If one of those cops arrested you for fun or as a mistake or out of malice, your face and record will be up for anyone to see.

Tufano's excuse and your support of it is a load of crap.

Cannon's pandering and excuses are well-known. And if monroe were actually telling the truth about how dramatically crime were down all over Charlotte, we wouldn't have to worry about "painting some areas with a broad brush" because we would all be in great shape. But he exposes the lies we are being fed with his statements.

Not even "uptown" is safe, but they only care about a few neighborhoods and areas, and trying to promote Charlotte as safe.
Too bad they have so many media partners most of the time in promoting this false perception.

We need journalists, not promotions.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the brothers are all looking out for each other.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure, but dosen't NCGS 132-6.1 supposedly prevent them from changing the online system so that we cannot access public records that we once had access to?

Anonymous said...

Crime is off the charts in all Divisions....but you will not hear anything about this from cmpd or Harold or Rodney.

They will do WHATEVER THEY FEEL IS NECESSARY to keep the real crime stats hidden from the public.

Patrick Cannon is Rodney's lap dog who enjoys the "perks" that come with being rodney's "pal" and repays him in kind.

And the crap about "detectives" finding out the real facts is just "detectives" blowing smoke. Most of the "investigating" comes from cops on the street in Divisions!

There may be the occasional discrepancy between initial reporting and further investigating, but getting rid of the SEL is exactly like throwing the baby out with the bath water!!!

Rodney continues to control the media in Charlotte, and the citizens are either too stupid or too complacent to demand transarency in law enforcement in Charlotte.

One member of brass was reported saying that maybe the reason crime is off the rails is because the cheating has been discovered and they are being more careful and are actually having to report crimes.

And 'ole Rodney just keeps smoking' and joking' and controlling the media and scheming and obfuscating and feathering his nest and the nests of his posse!!

Anonymous said...

they don't care about violating the public records law or any other law. they won't care until charges come and civil cases.

deleting documents, lying about official business from crime reports to bids--all a problem

Anonymous said...

Cedar how certian are you that Monroe is planning on encrypting the radios for the DNC 2012

Jeff A. Taylor said...

I don't know how Rick Thames sleeps at night; he is truly the Banana Republic's Joseph Goebbels.

EVERYONE knows the issue is fooling the burbs into thinking crime is "under control" in CLT.

The SEL made it clear it was not -- PLUS it made it way, way too easy to track how the system worked. Multiple felony armed robbery/AWaDW charges? Gee, the perp pleads to a single misdemeanor, time served, probation. Repeat.

Make no mistake, the criminal justice system in Char-Meck is corrupt to the core -- get out while you can.

PS -- How were Harry Jones' son's repeat DWI charge ever resolved?

Anonymous said...

I would bet my bank account that if you actually asked Cannon for the "criticisms and complaints," and "errors that stereotyped a particular section of town," you'd hear crickets because he made it up to cover for his buddy Monroe. Why didn't Cleve ask for even one example? What pathetic reporting.

It is interesting that the city's website conveniently makes it look like Cannon has served since 1993. Remember his pathetic run for mayor when he left the race? He was gone for a few years, maybe his memory is failing.

Gee, Patrick, as chair of community safety committe, we have a news flash for you: there ARE sections of town that have more crime and disorder. Does he honestly think the people who live there don't know it? Or the rest of us? What a load of crap. Typical Cannon, typical Monroe. Those two deserve each other.

Anonymous said...

Quoting CMPD's Rob Tufano: “The log was based essentially on real-time reporting, which meant that none of the information was vetted for accuracy or edited as the information changed over time,” “Follow-up investigations of a reported crime oftentimes results in the circumstances of a reported incident changing considerably.”

This quote was why they removed the 911 calls for service log not the SL. The SL was on delay.

CrimeInCharlotte.com said...

AMEN Cedar!!!

Anonymous said...

Monroe does need to stop smoking......not a good role model!

Of course, what IS he a good role model for?

I mean, seriously, would you want any member of your family, or friends looking to him to be an example for ethics, honesty or integrity?? I hope not!!