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The Journal’s reporting on state police activity

Every so often, this newspaper takes on the question of how, and why, we handle publishing the police blotter, which at this time we do weekly from the public information put out by Connecticut State Police Troop B in North Canaan. Additional coverage can happen if we know of something that has occurred in Kent, and then we would approach Troop L in Litchfield to obtain information they may have on an incident or alleged crime.

Writing about our approach to police news is usually in response to readers who for one reason or another would like an update. A letter to the editor on Sept. 5 from Kevin Godburn in North Canaan questioned whether The Lakeville Journal would hold back reporting on incidents involving ticketing for cell phone use, even if the police had put such information out in the public log book. 

The answer to Godburn’s question is no; The Lakeville Journal does not omit such information if it is put out by Troop B in their log book. Our goal is to reflect as completely and accurately as possible the public reports and charges put out by the state police on a regular basis. This newspaper has an associate editor who visits the barracks in North Canaan every week and takes the information directly from the public information made available there. Our readers should remember that the log book is open to all, not just the media. Anyone with any interest in police reports should visit the barracks themselves and ask to see the public log book to keep track of what the police are putting out for public information.

In fact, it is in the best interest of accurate open information for anyone involved with charges of any kind from the state police to visit the barracks and review the police report on that incident. This method of reviewing the documentation of police activity is the quickest, the most timely and most direct. It’s important to remember that an incident resulting in intervention by law enforcement can be seen different ways by the different people involved. 

This is part of the reason The Lakeville Journal has been committed to keeping track of the public reports generated by the state police over many years. It’s not just to be aware of what charges are being brought against whom by the police, but also to be sure that all involved with the incidents agree with the facts as described in the police reports. Without public disclosure and scrutiny of arrests, there is also the potential for police to operate secretly, outside the public eye and purview, giving rise to the possibility of an uncontrolled police state. 

If that sounds far-fetched to you, that is to the credit of Troop B officers and the way they operate in their communities. This newspaper finds them to be forthcoming with information as a general rule. But if it sounds plausible and there is room for concern, it’s all the more reason to keep track of the state police activity in the Northwest Corner personally. We will keep at it, and we encourage our readers to do the same, for the benefit of all in our communities. Nobody is perfect, but we try our best to get it right every week. And we stand by our disclaimers, and will publish outcomes as they are made available to us and confirmed by us, as below.

These disclaimers run at the beginning and end of the police blotter every week:

The following information was provided by the Connecticut State Police at Troop B. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  

The Lakeville Journal will publish the outcome of police charges. Contact us by mail at P.O. Box 1688, Lakeville, CT 06039, Attn: Police Blotter, or send an email, with “police blotter” in the subject line, to cynthiah@lakeville­journal.com.