Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.
I've been a little ticked off by my profession lately, and it all comes back to the Fatal Encounters project we've been doing.
As I've said a couple of times, I've yet to find out that the local cops are doing anything wrong. You want to see a problem, look in Albuquerque: 24 deaths since 2010. Washoe County has had 32 among all the agencies since 2000. For all I or anyone else knows at this moment, we're an example to be followed for the whole country.
At most, I've found that the police have a culture of secrecy. For example, since our story about the Sparks Police Department shooting Darcy Latham story came out, they've refused to follow the law regarding public documents. If you want to know how bad it has become, on Feb. 18, I requested the press releases the Sparks Police Department Records Division issued in October 2013. These were press releases. I just wanted to see if they ever announced the shooting of Monica Ritchey. Nada.
But then, the Reno Police Department took me on a ride along to see real interactions with the public. It's guys like the one I rode along with that decrease the number of fatal encounters in Northern Nevada. The thing that creates suspicion is when law enforcement agencies try to hide stuff that there's no reason to hide.
This is why I blame the media. They've trained these public employees that it's OK to ignore the law, that the people covered should decide how they're covered. Did any of the other media that reported the Monica Ritchey story go back and correct their factually inaccurate reports? I mean, isn't it the role of the media to report when the police accidentally shoot someone? Not in Northern Nevada, apparently.
We'll see. I'm kind of glad that I only have a few more local stories on this topic, and I've already done almost all the interviews I need to do. I've said it before: This isn't gotcha journalism; it's just looking in-depth at an important issue in this country. I'm not even doing journalism that would be considered unusual in other communities.