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Paper ‘appears’ to miss point on police

Recently, The Tribune received statistical information collected by the Ironton Police Department.

This information was given to shed some insight on the number and types of crimes being committed, especially those areas which seemed to be of concern to citizens.

Several warned me that if I released such information, it would be used in a negative way.

An article was written and published in The Tribune about the information on Sunday, Jan. 24. Upon reading the article, I found it informative and neutral.

On Monday, I spoke to one of the opponents of releasing the information and told him he was wrong.

On Tuesday, he called me and said, “Read the editorial ‘Crime statistics show problems’ in The Tribune.” He then said, “I told you so,” and I regretfully had to acknowledge he had been correct in his assumption.

I would like to clarify some issues that were brought to the forefront in this article.

First, the officers of the Ironton Police Department are not perfect and are human. This means each has his or her own personality, strengths, and weakness. They work very hard to perform a difficult, and for the most part, thankless job.

In this geographical area, they are understaffed, under equipped, under trained, and under funded, but are expected to perform to perfection. Despite these circumstances they go out every day and operate the best they can.

Though there are always areas that need improvement, I am proud of each one who puts forth an effort.

Secondly, in the editorial the word “appears” was used. After reading this latest article it “appears” to me that no matter what, The Tribune will continue to promote a negative attitude on the City of Ironton, the police department and its current, future, and former officers.

In writing this article it “appears” some limited information was taken. No explanations were sought, no questions were asked and the information was then twisted to disgrace the police department.

Thirdly, traffic citations issued did drop from 2008 to 2009 and I will agree substantially. What the article didn’t state is there was a significant drop in staffing.

The article failed to report that though citations issued dropped from 2008 to 2009, they have increased substantially, from 2005 to 2009, 500 percent. If the board feels that more can be done, there are currently two vacancies.

In the words of one of the board members, “choosing words over actions is the easy way out” and “it is easy to stand on the side lines of life and point out how things should be done,” (Tribune article Jan. 17).

Fourth, burglaries were up from last year. What you were not told was that burglaries fluctuate from year to year.

Although burglaries increased in 2009, there has not been a constant rise to indicate a major crime trend. The board also did not report that the victim’s neighbors, close acquaintances, relatives, friends and their own adult children and grand children are more frequently committing these types of crimes.

Fifth, it was reported by the board that thefts increased. What the board did not say was there were only 10 additional thefts in 2009. Ten. You were also not told that theft offenses have decreased by 28 percent from 2006.

Sixth, the board reported that, “the numbers just don’t add up,” “the arithmetic simply doesn’t make sense.” Of course it doesn’t but the board didn’t ask why.

So, it “appears” by not asking, the board choose to use the information to suit its purpose, which was to give the impression that there is a major problem.

If the board had inquired, it would have known there is a valid reason for what the board is implying is a discrepancy.

Some reports turn out to be false, some are informational or incidental only, some filed, reviewed and there is no warrant issued, prosecution or charges.

Some reports are dropped per a victim’s request and desire for no prosecution. Multiple cases can be cleared by a single arrest.

Previously, a woman was arrested for thefts from vehicles; she had stolen from over 20 vehicles, which amounted to 20 separate reports.

Recently, a man was arrested who had committed four separate break-ins and two burglaries.

Just Monday, Jan. 25, a man was arrested for three separate break-ins and is suspected in others.

So, it may “appear” to the editorial board “the numbers just don’t add up,” or “the arithmetic simply doesn’t make sense,” but to me, it “appears” you obtained this information (asked no questions, made no inquiries) and used it in a manner that suited your purpose in order to accomplish your mission: To cast a negative light on our city, the police department, its officers and former officers. Congratulations gentlemen! Mission accomplished!

When has The Tribune ever published an article commending the police for their efforts? There have been none that I recall and we don’t expect it.

Most officers do what we do as a service, not for rewards or praise. The board may respond, “Why doesn’t the department tell us of the positive?”

I respond, “Why doesn’t the board seek the positive with the same aggressiveness in which you seek the negative and perceived negative?”

In an article dated Oct. 31, 2009, “Editorial Board changes make sense,” the editorial board is described as a friend, but it “appears” to me you have treated us as your enemy.

To the citizens of Ironton and those outside the area who have read the editorial, Ironton along with every other community has crime.

There have been no major crime increases in the past few years. Though statistics were not kept in the past (now I understand why), I have served here for over 20 years and I recall the T&H and Sand Bar eras.

Crime is not what it used to be.

There has been a change in the areas where it’s being committed, and a different substance is being abused, but there is and always will be crime.

Contrary to what you read and hear, Ironton is a great community and numerous wonderful people live here.

Don’t get caught up in the negativity and don’t look through the eyes of The Tribune’s editorial board.

Chief Jim Carey has been with the Ironton Police Department for more than 20 years.