Jeb Bladine: Police didn't want assault publicized

McMinnville Police Department clearly did not want to see public reports about the violent attack May 12 that sent a McMinnville woman to intensive care at Oregon Health & Science University.

Social media quickly thwarted that initial law enforcement secrecy. However, MPD continues to withhold all but the most limited details. In terms of public transparency, this situation has become more common with MPD in recent years, and it raises concerns about department motives when deciding to withhold certain crime information.

This assault, to our knowledge, was not reported through any of the normal channels used by MPD to divulge crime incidents. When we requested information, this is the extent of the details the department would reveal:

“We received the call the morning of May 12 at 0311 hrs of a suspicious person. That lead to our department finding the victim and providing her with medical treatment. She was transferred to WVMC and then on to OHSU where she currently is … The assault did take place in the area of McMinnville that is considered the SE portion of town even though the street signs say NE on them.”

That’s it. No identification of the victim; no location of the assault; no clear information about potential danger to the public.

At the time of that sparse police statement, the victim’s identity, photograph and personal details had been widely reported. Her family and friends had launched a GoFundMe account seeking financial assistance for her medical costs. Local judicial action had begun to establish termporary custodial care for her three children, and she and her unborn baby remained at OHSU.

When law enforcement goes to such lengths to avoid release of crime details, people will have questions. In this case, one has to read between the lines to deduce the most likely explanations.

We can surmise that police believe the assault didn’t involve a stranger who might pose a danger to others in the community. Otherwise, it would have been highly irresponsible not to have acknowledged the violent incident initially.

It appears the department wants to protect the victim from public knowledge of certain specifics related to the attack. Many people might be sympathetic with such sentiment, but others could ask if it’s common for MPD to shroud crime cases in secrecy based on subjective motives.

At least it was a relief to hear — from other sources — that the victim is recovering.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

T.W.S.

Well now, are you not just the absolute winner of the Social Media Award for Armchair QB know-it-all of police investigation procedures, policies, tactics, etc. Maybe you should run for police chief for Amity and show everyone how it is done.

T.W.S.

Well now, are you not just the absolute winner of the Social Media Award for Armchair QB know-it-all of police investigation procedures, policies, tactics, etc. Maybe you should run for police chief for Amity and show everyone how it is done.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS