Letter: The Darien Times should handle police reports like Darienite.com

To the Editor:

I’ve been meaning to write this letter for some time now, and David Gurliacci’s recent article titled “ This Is Not News. Let’s Not Treat It That Way” on Darienite.com prompted me to finally write it.

Publishing the names of local residents who have been “accused” of a wrongdoing is an unfortunate and disgraceful way for media outlets to try to gain readership. We all know the media industry in this country is at an all-time low and will do anything to gain eyeballs. But enough is enough.

We need common sense laws in this country. How many people are falsely accused in this country each day? Of course the obvious question is: do the police also inform the media when a person has been acquitted of the offense they previously let the public know they were accused of? And does the media print those acquittals as well? We all know the answer….no. This is irresponsible.

I’ve reached out to the Darien Police Department on this issue. They responded right away and were articulate in their response (thank you!). They say this is all because of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act statutes and that arrests, of course, are only made with probable cause. The Darien Police Department “mirrors and follows those statutes.” Without getting into the details, I question whether we have to follow those statutes if we believe they are wrong. There are plenty of examples of states and towns rejecting federal laws.

But assume the Darien Police are doing what they have to do. Then the issue rests with the local media. Darienite.com has made it a policy not to publish names in most cases. Credit to them. Unfortunately it’s not the same for other local media outlets. This is not news. Don’t treat it that way. We all need to speak up and hold ourselves, and our neighbors, to higher standards.

Carl Pombar