Opinion: Will Longmont residents be safer with police silence?

Times-Call (Longmont): On Oct. 11, 2018, the following headline appeared in the Times-Call: “Police scanners go silent.” The spokesperson for the police department gave a vague justification for the decision to encrypt dispatches based on concerns for officer safety and victim privacy. The same police representative indicated, “no one thing triggered” the decision and “no victim has complained.” At the same time, a city spokesman indicated the decision was made internally by police leaders and did not need the approval of the City Council. In my opinion, a decision to deprive residents of important information is a policy matter that should be decided by the City Council. As originally implemented, the pilot silenced police dispatches for news organizations too.

The first thing that came to mind when I read the above-mentioned article was a quotation from British newspaper publisher Lord Northcliffe: “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” The next thought that came to mind was a well-known statement by President Roosevelt: “All we have to fear is fear itself.” I frequently find myself thinking of these two quotations as I observe a trend since Sept. 11, 2001, that many individuals stampede to surrender valuable personal rights whenever someone in authority mentions fear.

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