The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 29, 2014

Interests of law enforcment and news compete

Breaking news this week in Mankato offered readers a view of the often competing interests of news organizations and law enforcement.

News organizations want to report the news quickly and accurately and in as much detail as possible. Most news organizations now have websites and mobile phone apps where reporting the news quickly 24/7 has become paramount.

Law enforcement must concern itself with public safety first and providing public information later. But law enforcement organizations also must deal with the burgeoning landscape on the Web and on social media. Ordinary people can take pictures of an accident and post it on their social media sites, bypassing any comment from law enforcement or a gatekeeper at a newspaper.

Those elements came into play in Mankato last Monday night when a police vehicle on an emergency call collided with passenger vehicle.

Monday night about 8 p.m. a Mankato Police SUV collided with another vehicle while police were in emergency mode to another accident involving a pregnant woman. The police Ford Explorer SUV was traveling north on Riverfront Drive with lights and siren on when the other vehicle, a Subaru Legacy, was traveling west on Hickory and pulled out into Riverfront.

The crash was fairly serious and one passenger in the Subaru had to be extricated from the vehicle by the rescue team that cut away part of the car. The man was taken to the hospital and was in serious condition that night but has since improved to good condition. Two other passengers were not hurt, nor was the officer driving the SUV.

The Free Press was contacted by a motorist – my daughter – who happened to be detoured around the accident a few minutes after it happened. When you’re in the news business, your children, wife, neighbors relatives know to call any time they see an abundance of flashing red lights or see an incident that looks like it might be newsworthy.

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