Give Them Space

Thanks to last week, I’ve learned a lot. Things, due to the circumstances, that I wish I hadn’t.

I learned that I seriously need to have patience. Without it, I could have ruined an already strenuous relationship.

Working with police departments is never easy. I’ll be the first to say that. Since I’ve been at the Chronicle, I’ve done my best to be as cooperative as I can with the Willimantic Police Department.

This past week, I learned that they are just like you and me. They are a close-knit family. One that sticks together and looks out for one another.

After what happened on Tuesday, things in the Thread City quieted down. Several officers said that, as well (until Thursday night).

I wanted that story. I wanted to know how morale was, how everyone was doing hows does the department begin to start moving forward.

I e-mailed the Chief and asked what she thought.

After an exchange of e-mails she said she spoke with her captain and agreed to let a lieutenant talk to me about how things are going.

To be honest, I was floored. I wasn’t expecting that. This was night of the shooting and the morning of the next day. I had no idea what to do. And then I thought about it.

They are still trying to figure out who is working today, never mind what to say to the local newspaper. I really thought that I should have called that afternoon (the day after the shooting) but I thought against it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I called the lieutenant the next morning (now the second day after the shooting) and I told him that I really wanted to give the department a full day to get themselves back together.

He quickly made it a point to thank me for doing that. He said the dust was “still settling” and that they are getting back together.

We had a great 30-minute conversation. We discussed everything from moving forward to how people react to tragedies. It was a very informative talk.

I think it helped him, too. Talking about it in the open like that must have helped. I know that I don’t usually talk about things (that’s why I have this blog).

The story was that much better, I think, because I didn’t press the department or rush into everything.

Also, I think it was crucial to get that story to our readers. The community deserved to read what’s going on in the department, too. It was a great story to write and I’m lucky to have gotten it.

Jonathan

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