Guess who’s on Jim Polito tomorrow morning?

Kerry Hazlehurst and Katie Daly of the WPD.

To talk about Facebook.

I kid you not.

The listener number is 508 755-0058.

If you are so inclined, I suggest calling to ask whether using their press releases to attack journalists for something they haven’t yet written is the best use of resources.

Updated, 2/3, 1:10pm — if you’re so inclined, you can hear the interview here.  I’m not sure when they appeared; I tried listening off and on throughout the morning but didn’t catch this.

Because issuing a press release is the best way to not respond to an inquiry

It’s been a busy week for the WPD.

As I previously noted, the city has seen a regular flurry of PR activity on the part of the police.  We’ve had press releases about Telegram articles and the introduction of YouTube and Facebook accounts.  They’ve even posted an alert to their Nixle account.  (News to me: I had no idea Route 8 passed through Worcester!)

Let’s say you just moved to Worcester and came across one of the WPD’s social media sites.  Your reaction could be measured in three stages:

Stage 1: Admiration.  “Wow, a police department that’s approaching the 21st century and posting press releases.”

Stage 2: Confusion.  “Isn’t it kind of weird that they post a long advisory about some dangerous dude but they didn’t let us know about the 10th homicide of 2011 for six days?” 

Stage 3: Utter Befuddlement.  “Who is this Dianne Williamson and why did they respond to her by saying they wouldn’t respond to her?”

(Yes, it would only take a new Worcester resident a few days to get to the stage the rest of us old and crusty residents are at.)

Remember when you were in kindergarten and there was that kid who would always put glue in your hair and trip you and make fun of your glasses, and when you complained about it your mom would say, “Oh, honey, that’s only because he likes you?”

Well, the police press releases are a little bit like that, except that the folks behind it don’t like the objects of their derision.  Also, they’re not five years old, so instead of having kindergarten scissors, they’re packing heat.

I like the police.

Most of the officers I meet are courteous, friendly, and helpful.  I want there to be a forum that highlights the good work of the WPD.

I have nothing against the police.

What I do have something against are folks in the administration of the WPD who are undermining the work the men and women of the WPD do every single day.  These are people who consistently put themselves in harm’s way to investigate crimes and protect the public.  I want to hear about that work.   I want to hear about real people I should keep an eye out for, and real situations of interest to me as a resident of Worcester.

Instead we get petty feuds that we are paying for, instead of statistics and news we can use to stay safer.

The saddest thing is that I’ve been mentally preparing a post that was going to be critical of the T&G, which is one of the two official sports of Worcester (the other official civic sport is asking when the skating rink on the Common will be ready, of course):

http://twitter.com/#!/delnieve/status/164353321665171458

And instead I had to write this post, when I was really trying to give the WPD the benefit of the Web 2.0 doubt for at least three days.
 
If you want the police to focus on the business of Worcester, rather than on feeding the media outlets the WPD perceives to be trolls, please comment on their Facebook wall or respond to their Twitter account.
 
I also recommend contacting the members of the City Council Subcomittee on Public Safety: Councilor Eddy (chair), Councilor Germain, and Councilor Palmieri.  Ask them why the police press releases are being used for schoolyard taunts rather than public information.
 
Enough is enough.