PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Hello,
Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens has been in that job for only about two weeks now, but he’s already made a difference.
The double shooting in Mineral Wells this past week is an example of that.
A man is charged with shooting and killing two people Tuesday morning. He was arrested a few hours later in Braxton County.
Sheriff Stevens was on the scene and was providing us information on a fairly regular basis.
When you consider that the main job of law enforcement is to make sure everyone is safe, to get help for the injured, and to find the suspect…keeping the media in the loop can be a last concern…for some.
But the Sheriff knows that getting information out, and making that a priority, too, is very important in these days of smartphones and Twitter.
With rumors flying all over social media, the Sheriff knows he needs trustworthy media to get out the REAL facts at a speed … that might not ever keep up with the rumor mill,… but will make sure information is correct before it goes out.
And he understands that he can’t wait until ALL the facts are known before issuing an old-fashioned, printed press release.
He needs to get out the known facts, as quickly as possible and as they become known.
That is especially the case when you have a gunman on the loose.
There will be times, no doubt, when the sheriff might prefer NOT to give details about a story that does not reflect positively on himself or his department.
We can only hope that he will realize that transparency is always the best solution.
And if this tragedy in Mineral Wells is any indication, Sheriff Stevens “gets it.”
That’s this week’s editorial.