Letter: Police department’s lack of transparency is baffling

To the Editor:

I have great respect for the Ridgefield Police Department, and I know that its members do a fine job serving our community. I can't thank them enough for the work they do.

But I continue to be concerned about the department's baffling lack of transparency when it comes to informing Ridgefield residents about incidents that happen in town. The latest case was the shooting of a would-be car thief by a homeowner last week. How did I learn this? Not from the Ridgefield police, who refused to even explain who fired the shots. Rather, this and other salient facts were provided by the cops in Waterbury, where the alleged thief turned up in a hospital ER.

This reflexive secrecy happens with disturbing regularity. The Ridgefield police, no doubt, will insist they are protecting the integrity of the investigation, and, indeed, under a 2014 State Supreme Court ruling, they have great latitude to withhold information from the public. But they don't have to. And it's simply not true that providing basic facts somehow impedes justice.

The police work for the citizens of Ridgefield, who have a right to be reasonably informed about serious incidents — which, thanks to the men and women in uniform, are rare occurrences in our town.

Mike McIntire