Media Letter about Home Addresses

View a PDF of the letter

With the reoccurring trend of our local media to publish the home of law enforcement officers, I sent the following open letter to the area’s media outlets.

We cannot sit idly by and allow the media to publish information which places officers and their families at risk.

 

Greater Charleston Area Media Outlets,

As a news organization, it is your duty and obligation to accurately report on current events, sports, politics, entertainment, crime, and other matters that are of interest to the general public. In doing this, there comes a time that as a reporter, journalist or news anchor, some information should be omitted from the report.

Yesterday, as reports about an area law enforcement officer being arrested surfaced, multiple news outlets broke the story and in the very detailed line by line account of the arrest, the home address of not only the police officer was listed but also his wife and their small children.

A recent example of the media providing the home address of a police officer is Darren Wilson, of Ferguson, Missouri. News reporters provided Officer Wilson’s home address as well as filmed and photographed his house and broadcast this via their media outlets. This caused Officer Wilson to have to relocate and be hidden during the subsequent investigation.

The job of a law enforcement officer is very challenging and increasingly dangerous with the threat of assault, not only while on duty, but also at home has increased. Many law enforcement officers take extra measures to protect their families and shield them from the dangers they face each day as a result of the jobs they have sworn to do.

In closing, I would ask that your news organization seriously consider omitting the exact home address or even street of a law enforcement officer when reporting the news. I understand the importance of reporting the news, but in providing this exact address, this potentially endangers not only the officer but their families. Through the course of a law enforcement officer’s job, we come into contact with people who do not like us and would want nothing more to cause us or our family’s physical injury or harm.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you will consider adopting this change to safeguard our law enforcement officers and their families. For questions concerning this letter, I am available at mwoodall@scfop3.org or 843-744-7255.

 

Matt Woodall

Vice President at Tri-County FOP Lodge #3
A 15 year veteran of local law enforcement who now serves as Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3.

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