Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.
I should talk a bit about the cover story since we haven't done an investigative series in quite some time. Any questions about how this thing started or my motives for doing it can be found on fatalencounters.org. I started working on it a year and a half ago or so, sort of as a personal project, although, the lines separating Brian Burghart private citizen and Brian Burghart student and Brian Burghart dad and Brian Burghart editor/publisher of the Reno News & Review are non-existent. I know what psychologists say about dividing job from fun, but I just have one life, and I like to live it my way all the time.
So, by way of disclosure, I designed the website, I did the spreadsheets, I created the forms, I did basically everything on the website with the exception of two databases, the list of the country's state and local law enforcement agencies and the comparative database that Shelby DeNike of Sd3Labs did for me. News & Review knew I was doing the site for some purpose, but it wasn't until publication of this first story that it became a joint effort.
I can tell you my girlfriend, Kelly Scott, the executive editor over at the Reno Gazette-Journal, has been disturbed many times when she wakes up at 4 a.m. and sees me working on the laptop. “What are you doing?” she'll ask. “Washing the car.” But if you're looking for transparency, that's why I didn't interview anyone currently working over at the Gazette, even though I mildly criticize them. Hopefully, I offset that with the lawyer and Frank Mullen interviews.
Finally, with regard to motives, I only have one: I think the information about who gets killed by government representatives needs to be public. Having this information available to law enforcement on a detailed national level will allow police to create strategies by which they can react with better understanding to dangerous situations to better protect themselves and kill fewer people. This isn't “gotcha” journalism, it's public journalism.