Transparency is good for police agencies

Published 2:51 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

We were pleased to report on the capture Thursday of Kristopher Allen White shortly after his escape from sheriff’s custody. The capture — which was measured in mere minutes — was a joint operation between sheriff’s officials, Bogalusa city police and Rayburn Correctional Center officials who brought in a pair of beagles that aided in the search.

On Thursday, the Washington Parish Sheriff’s office also announced that Etric Peterson, wanted in connection to a shootout Monday, turned himself in peacefully a day after the sheriff’s office put out notice to the media he was wanted.

Then on Friday, many of those same agencies and others came together at Northshore Community College to discuss whether or not the community college could start a law enforcement training academy. Unfortunately it looks as though Washington Parish will be without an academy for some time yet, but the college is looking to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in other ways.

If you haven’t noticed, all these stories have one thing in common — good communication and cooperation between law enforcement and various stakeholders in the community.
We expect to see further cooperation between law enforcement agencies and first responders Feb. 6, during the annual MCCA parade.

We appreciate the effort that all law enforcement agencies show in working not just with each other but also with the media, the college and other groups. Whether the news is bad, as in the case of an inmate escape, or good, as in the case of his capture, it’s important to work together and work as transparently as possible to keep Washington Parish safe and well-informed.

It is not always easy to stand public scrutiny, but government agencies that show great transparency are ones we can trust. And, with trust, we can build better bridges for future cooperation.