News Views: Doing our job

Ridge Meadows RCMP cancel weekly reports of crime in favour of FaceBook

Ridge Meadows RCMP have decided that they can do the media’s job better, and do it for them, through social media.

Police promise a rosier reality on Facebook, a collection of pictures of officers returning lost donkeys, announcements about upcoming charity events, and ones where the public can come to the park and meet its “heroes.”

It’s all about good will, filtering out all the negative little stories about drug addicts breaking into backyard sheds, or homes, those about drunk drivers, or prostitutes.

RCMP Supt. Dave Walsh decided to stop providing police blotter material to media about six months ago and said Maple Ridge council had no role in the decision.

Print media still has a role, he added, but social media will be used by Ridge RCMP for daily communication. He doesn’t want to saturate or desensitize the public with insignificant stories that have little affect on the community as a whole.

Thanks for making that decision for us, superintendant.

But who’s filtering the message?

We’ve been down this road with the RCMP several times in the past.

The federal police organization’s mission is to preserve the peace and uphold the law, doing so with unbiased and respectful treatment of all people.

Trying to manage the message, policing perception, seems a little biased to us.

There’s no accountability under that model.

Let the readers decide what they want to read.

Of late, our website has seen between 3,000 and 6,500 visitors a day, according to Analytics reports. It spikes when there is a major fire, or a man falls off a cliff, or another goes missing. It hit an all-time high the day after the Stanley Cup riot, with more than 14,000 visits.

One of the most read stories last week was a thank-you letter from two young girls to two RCMP officers who helped them when they were lost.

You know what else people like to read: obituaries.

Guess what they don’t read very much: bumph.

Newspapers have been around for centuries, because people like to know what’s going on, and they aren’t going to go away because a man with a badge doesn’t think they’re that important anymore.

The RCMP is welcome to comment on any relevant story, but withholding information from the public, telling people to burying their heads  in the sand, only creates mistrust.

Don’t worry, we can decide what’s important.

– The News