Believes Messenger ‘got it all wrong’

Late last year the Gunnison and Centerfield police departments combined to create the Gunnison Valley Police Department (GVPD).

Citizens were led to believe the savings through shared cooperation and resources would save enough money to add an extra officer to the then existing staff.

Less than a year later, imagine our surprise as we read an article in the Sept 7, 2017 issue of the Messenger in which the GVPD feels the need “to be in a position to hire an additional officer in the near future, or we could run the risk of something happening similarly  to Ephraim’s situation.”  We were livid!  We felt like we had been lied to from the get go.

With the Messenger article in hand we attended a Sept 13 public hearing on the matter wherein we learned that the Messenger had gotten it all wrong. According to the Gunnison City Council, the problem was an oversight in which the school resource officer’s contract is up next year and the city was only asking for a small cost-of-living fee for the officer’s new contract. We were embarrassed and felt betrayed by the Messenger’s misinformation.

Come on Messenger . To quote that GVPD could end up like Ephraim considering all the press the Ephraim story generated seems like sensationalism.

In a time where the citizens are becoming more distrustful of elected/appointed officials, honest and accurate journalism is more Important than ever.

In the past, we have relied on your commitment to ethical journalism practices, so please get your facts straight in the future.  We as citizens and loyal readers are counting on you to get  it correct!

Jay Clayton

 

Editor’s Note: The Messenger stands by our reporting. We did have our facts straight—the problem was that we didn’t have all the facts.

            We based the story we ran prior to the hearing on a discussion in a city council meeting and on an email exchange with the chief of the GVPD.

            Unfortunately, the fact that the proposed fee, the focus of the public hearing, was solely to cover a modest increase in the resource officer contract was not mentioned in either exchange. We were glad the hearing clarified the purpose of the fee for citizens as well as for our newspaper.

            We stand by the advance quote from GVPD Chief Brett McCall, which read, “The department’s budget health is stable; however, we run very thin right now, and there isn’t much breathing room. I feel we need to be in a position to hire and additional officer in the near future or we could run the risk of something happening similar to Ephraim’s situation.” 

            That quote came verbatim from an email from McCall to managing editor Robert Stevens. We felt such a statement was significant and certainly merited inclusion in the hearing preview story.