Why is Mendocino Law Enforcement Ignoring their Local Press?
Today, the Noyo News finally addressed a question that has been bugging me. Why has the Mendocino Sheriff’s office given great information to the Santa Rosa newspaper, the Press Democrat, and given little information to sources closer to home? Frequently, a piece of information from the department is in the Democrat before it is in the official press release. That might be understandable if the local papers were getting the scoop but instead it is a paper a good two hours away from the site of the crime. Furthermore, the Noyo says somewhat skeptically,
In a highly unusual series of events, the MCSO has not conducted an open press conference on the situation since the witnessed murder of the town’s former mayor and current city councilman, Jere Melo. The sheriff’s office has instead relied on highly contrived releases of information through a spokesman, Kurt Smallcomb, to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Newspaper, and occasional updates by head sheriff Tom Allman by telephone interviews with selected local radio stations.
Despite the fears and concerns for the safety of the people in the nearby town of Fort Bragg, Sheriff Allman has claimed that release of information regarding the details of the search might aid the suspect, whom Allman claims might possess a radio.
The local newspapers have sometimes been reduced to quoting the Press Democrat–
According to the Press Democrat newspaper, the operation has involved the services of between 30 and 70 officers on the ground during a 24/7, ten day search of a
small area of woods outside the town of Fort Bragg.
Don’t get me wrong. The coverage of the Press Democrat has been outstanding. The photographs are beautiful. The other papers could have done more. But, as an outsider looking in, I can’t help feel it bodes badly that the local papers and the Mendocino Sheriff’s Dept. appear to be on such bad terms that basic information goes to the Press Democrat hours or even, it appears, days before it goes out to the Mendocino papers.
More info on the Jere Melo and Matthew Coleman homicides here.
Ukiah Daily Journal’s latest: “Melo and his companion had stumbled instead on a garden of more than 400 opium poppies when Bassler, guarding the garden from a lookout point above them and about 10 yards away, allegedly opened fire with a high-caliber long rifle.”
Press Democrat: Great photos of the community and the agencies involved in the search for Aaron Bassler.