The public has been asked to help local law enforcement as it continues to focus on halting what apparently is a string of arson fires in apartment buildings.
Everyone, particularly those of us in the news media, wants to help. Nobody wants another Boardwalk situation.
The problem is that Fire Chief Mark Bradford just wants to shout “Help!” without providing any context for the public to attempt to assist. Ridiculously, the Journal-World was reduced to filing an open records request to try to obtain even limited information as background to a vague press release that initially asked for public assistance.
The chief unresponsively provided information about 21 fires, not all of which are related to the circumstances, for a fee of $110.
How much more productive it would have been for all concerned to have had an adult conversation about the situation so that the public could have been appropriately informed and perhaps provided the sought-after assistance, without any compromise to the investigation.
Let’s hope that somehow a lesson is learned from this instance so that the community and its first responders work better together in the future.