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Media relations and the police, proper balance needed

The media and law enforcement can at times have a near adversarial relationship with each competing to protect their own perceived interest. The media is in competition between the outlets to get the news out first or to get the exclusive detail. The unintended consequence of the aggressiveness displayed by a reporter may be seen as an offending behavior by law enforcement officers and the public. It is important to note that law enforcement needs the media to inform the public on the occurrences within the community and to solicit assistance. Having the proper balance of media involvement is critical to a well-functioning society.

The West Fargo Police Department has had the great fortune to find that balance for many years through the professional journalism standards displayed by Karen Huber and the West Fargo Pioneer. Huber has always been there to report the news, not create it. Her soft spoken but determined desire to obtain all the details of a story made her a pleasure to work with. The Department could always depend on a fair and accurate accounting of any event.

Huber was also interested in the non-traditional news stories from within the Department. Her in-depth interviews with new employees were a great introduction of the employee into the community. Special programs or projects conducted by the Department were often a feature in the Pioneer. Huber always took her responsibility to inform the public very seriously but it also was her personal caring for the community that shown through brightly.

Huber has promised the relationship between the Pioneer and the Department will go on. We will take her word on that but we also understand that we are losing something special. It will be very difficult to replace Huber’s level of professionalism and her personal commitment to the West Fargo Police Department and the community. Enjoy your retirement Karen, stay safe, and thank you.