Why am I not surprised? Just 15-days after the Department launched LAPDBlog.org, a Daily News columnist has decided the “LAPD blog just bogs down net.” To read the May 28th column one would think the LAPD had committed some horrible blogosphere crime.
When we re-launched the Department’s website last March, (check your facts Daily News, taxpayers don’t pay for LAPDOnline or the separate blog, the Los Angeles Police Foundation does and the redesign of the site cost $382,000…the blog only costs $15 a month) Chief Bratton did commit to stepping into unchartered blog waters. I say unchartered because some time spent researching Google confirms there are no universal hard, fast rules when it comes to blogging.
So we designed the blog to do a number of things, respond to criticism without having our responses edited, gauge the pulse of the public, let people know what’s happening in the Department, both good and bad, and yes even plug the positive contributions of its men and women. The audacity of this LAPD “flack” to actually want people to know that yes, cops are people too and they do good things. They don’t, as the writer would have you believe, spend the majority of their time going from one fast food restaurant to another. Transparency goes both ways you know. Why, even the Daily News prints some “good news” stories. And don’t even suggest we are making up personalities to praise ourselves. If papers like the Daily News committed to even a weekly column listing all of the heroic acts of officers (I won’t hold my breath) we probably wouldn’t even need a blog. But we do.
And then there is this line from the column; “I want to imagine that when The Man is not meting out firm but fair justice, he is sipping lattes and updating his blog,” (I don’t even want to imagine the future headline on that one). Now, while the Columnist may want officers to sip and blog, most cops I know want nothing more than to go out and put lawbreakers in jail, save lives and survive so they can go home to their own families.
They also want people to have the opportunity to tell us like it is, bad and good. Will the blog, as you say “reverse years of secrecy and conflict with the community?” Our hope is that in time the dialogue will help to heal old wounds. But come on, you’ve got to give us more than two weeks!
LAPD Public Information Director