July 30, 2010
To the editor:
This is my direct response to the July 27 editorial, "Home Front: Communication will better serve community, authored by Milan News-Leader managing editor Michelle Rogers.
Milan City residents should be assured that public safety, first and foremost, the safety of our children, is of paramount concern to myself, and the entire staff of our Milan Police Department, particularly our police chief.
The incidents on both June 4 and June 28 were tragic for the victims and their families, and the residents of Milan. I am proud of the response of the Milan Police Department to these incidents, and their work has generated many promising leads in catching this criminal.
I am also concerned that when the information was released to the Milan News Leader on July 16, there was a significant delay before the information appeared on the Milan News Leader website on July 26. As the current Mayor and a former newspaper reporter, I understand that the communication process between the City and newspaper staff is essential to insure the timely release of information to the residents of Milan. I will work with the City and newspaper staff to determine what issues in this incident caused this delay in printing this information, and will refine the communication process on the City's end so that these delays can be minimized as much as possible in the future. I expect the newspaper will take the same approach.
As with any major incident in the City of Milan, a careful review of the policies and procedures that were followed will help us to improve operations in the future.
The editorial by Ms. Rogers questions the period of time between when the second incident occurred, June 28th, and when a detailed written press release was provided to the Milan News Leader, on July 16. I am working with both the Chief of Police and the City Administrator to put together a timeline of the investigation and the decisions that were made between the incident and the media release. I have come to understand in my time as Mayor that each Police case has its own unique set of circumstances,
and it is crucial that all of the facts are considered before any conclusion is made.
I can assure you that if it is determined that there was a lapse in judgment that caused this information to be delayed to the public, I will demand that new policies and procedures are implemented to ensure that the safety and welfare of our citizens is considered above all else when determining how and when information is released to the public.
Finally, this incident has reinforced my opinion that the City must adapt to newer, direct means of communication to keep our residents informed. My staff has been developing a new City website since the beginning of this year, and I anticipate it will be launched at the end of August. With the launch of the new City website, the City is exploring new means of communicating with our residents, including RSS feeds from our website, and popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I believe the communication process with our residents can only be improved by incorporating these direct lines of communication.
I stand by the exceptional work of our Milan Police Department, and their attentive dedication to protecting the families who live in our community, and am working diligently to ensure that any communication issues in this particular incident are reviewed so that the City's communication process with the public can be improved in the future.