I have thought about this posting for some time now and it may force me to consider how the blog continues to operate, but I am going to say some these that need to be said and try to explain a couple things.
As I approach almost a million hits on the blog, I continue to think back on why I started it in the first place. The preliminary reason was that it was eventually started as a clearing house of sorts for bad information coming out of City Hall. It was during the Eddie Perez investigation and the eventual Grand Jusy that I guess I started to gain a reputation as the "go to guy" if you wanted to get information out without putting your own neck on the line.
A local reporter, Len Besthoff, knew of my concerns to make sure I was protecting my sources. Len attended a seminar where they were told that Bloggers have apparently been determined to be legitimate journalist and come under shield laws. I still laugh every time someone considers me a journalist, but I do have my days. As far as protecting my sources, if Eddie Perez ever knew where much of the information was coming from, Hartford's unemployment rate would have jumped a couple of percentage points.
As the blog has grown, I can't help but realize that it has an impact. That is where the responsibility part comes in all the time. One of the tings Len , and others, taught me very early was to check and double check information an never trust anything from a single source. I think I have higher standards than many journalists who jump to take what they hear off a scanner or in line at Dunkin Donuts and run with it, only to be proven wrong later.
This blog has cost people their jobs, some have been arrested in part or totally because of information developed here .Some careers have ended because of the blog, and on the positive side, some careers have been enhanced or saved because of it.
I have been threatened with law suits to remove postings, but if I know I am able to verify what I post, the truth would mean nothing if I caved in when someone felt the heat.
The difficult part has been the comments, and I guess this is the main reason for this posting. Most people like reading my posts, but I know just as many people come here to read the comments. I think in some cases it is a form of therapy for some to post and take their shots. Sometimes those shots are at me, sometimes at their co-workers and in some cases it is almost the modern day version of the office suggestion box.
You have something to say about HPD or City hall but you don't want the possible retaliation so throw it up on the blog as a comment and you know the word will get around. Whether it is junk cars behind the old Police Station or the need for an Internal Affairs investigation, commenter's know that if it posted here in the comment section, it will get noticed and something will most likely happen. The junk cars were removed within a day, and IAD investigations have been launched within minutes of being received recently.
The tough part is where to draw the line and be responsible. Believe it or not, some comments, such as those about HPD midnight shift supervisors are deleted more than they are put through. What's the point, after the first few, I am pretty confident that the message is out to the Administration that there is a possible problem. If there is an issue there, constant jabs on a blog aren't going to correct it. It is out of my hands. It might be therapy for the co-workers, but there is some responsibility.
I was talking to a frequent commenter today and we were discussing Mondays deal with the Kupiec SUV deal. The caller threw out a name of another HPD member who has had more than his fair share of negative comments on the blog. Some deserved, most probably not. I will be cryptic here, but anyone in the know will read between the lines.
So he threw out the name saying so and so "had to be involved". Wrong, or at least I feel comfortable saying wrong . "So and so" has I think become used to the backlash, but isn't shy about calling me when he thinks the comments are unfair, some have been removed to be fair, some have not.
Anyway, when he threw out the name, I asked him if he would be surprised to know that Sgt ."so and so" had actually called me regarding a comment posted about Kupiec. I.asked him if he would be surprised to know that phone records and text messages had already been voluntarily forwarded to me to prove that Sgt "so and so" was not involved and made no calls or notifications before, during or after the incident.. It was all voluntary and I told him it was not necessary, but he felt that it was important to prove his point.
But in all candor, I told Sgt. "so and so" that he created a lot of his own problems by his associations and that sometimes the perception of impropriety was almost as bad as the actual impropriety itself and it might make sense to reconsider putting yourself in the situation where the perception could be allowed to exist or form in the first place.
It is not always what it seems, and after I explained Sgt "so and so" actions, he said "you need to put that on the blog". I agree. It's called responsibility.