North Santa Rosa

Escambia County Terminates Radio Accessibility to the Press

Termination of Radio Accessibility

On December 6, 2011 Sheriff David Morgan, Chief Deputy Larry Aiken, Deputy Matt Baxter, Melissa Rawson, and Gerry Champagne had a meeting with representatives of WearTV, Pensacola News Journal,, and 1620 AM to discuss providing access to our encrypted radio system. During that meeting, it was agreed that access would be granted contingent to certain “guidelines”. The agreement was that the media would not report any information gained from the radio traffic, without first having it confirmed through a public information officer. This agreement was not put in writing, but was agreed upon by all involved parties with the understanding (those outlets) were responsible for the training of their employees.

It has come to the Sheriff’s attention that there have been numerous violations of that agreement.

These violations include:

  • · Reporting the names of deceased victims’.
  • · Reporting the name of a suspect which has not been released.
  • · Reporting incorrect information about active crimes.
  • · Reporting the capture of a suspect without confirmation.
  • · Attempting to report criminal activity or a possible suspect vehicle,

which had not been confirmed It is important to understand that these guidelines were set for officer safety, integrity of criminal investigations, public safety, and to ensure the accuracy of information distributed. Information that is broadcast to a law enforcement officer while they are in route to a call is done only to help in the possible quick resolution of that call (i.e. apprehend a suspect). The information which is provided is from the complainant or witnesses and is fluid at best. This information must first be confirmed by the officer once on-scene. Until then it can change at a moment’s notice.

In response to the repeated violations, the Sheriff has decided to terminate radio access to all media outlets immediately. The termination was the final option after numerous warnings and conversations with the violating outlets. While the Sheriff understands that not all media outlets have violated this agreement, he has decided to terminate all media access in an effort to prevent further issues from arising in the future.

The access to the online CAD system will remain. If you have any questions about a call on the CAD, please contact the appropriate PIO via e-mail or phone.

Posted by on Nov 8 2012. Filed under Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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