On Friday morning a column was published in the Lancaster News. You can read this column here. http://www.thelancasternews.com/content/i-slam-down-phone-and-stomp-out-newsroom .
Chief Grant’s response:
“Hey, have you read the paper this morning?’ “No, not yet” I respond. It had been a busy night/morning. I pull my phone out and hit the bookmark. Well, there it is… I read the Column. I don’t know whether to laugh or cuss, so I do both.
I remember the conversation I had at length with the author of this piece. Where I tried my best to make her understand why everything going on in a homicide investigation, can’t be released to the public in real time. How the publics’ right to know cannot trump the victims right to be heard.
I remember time and time again trying to make her understand that nothing is more important than insuring the integrity of an investigation. That it is the only way we can insure the Solicitor is given the very best case possible with which to work. How sometimes what might be considered even a minor detail can have major implications if it is released too soon. How a case tried excessively or extensively in the media, might not ever have its day in court and how those defendants must have access to a fair and impartial jury.
I think to myself that even after allowing her unrestricted access to a homicide investigation as it unfolded in real time, she still don’t understand.
An investigation is nothing short of scared to us. We bear the responsibility of speaking for the victim. It is our officers who worked tirelessly to give Lillian a voice; to tell her story and hold those responsible, accountable. It was our officers and fireman that tried everything they could to save her life. It was our officers that then went home with tears in their eyes and a shadow on their soul, waking up their own children just so they could hold them close and tell them that they loved them.
Part of me says “Grant, evoke your 24 hour rule…” That part usually wins, but I don’t think it gets the win today.
Justice when won, is won in a court of Law, but there are no guarantees. You have to fight for it. There are times I would like to shout the things we know from the roof tops, but that would be a short lived victory. I walk back into the Special Operations Unit Offices, My old office before I was appointed Chief. I see the photo of Lillian on my investigators desks. I see the files and photos of other victims, some solved, some still being worked daily. I am content in knowing we are doing everything we can to resolve those cases and give answers to the families of those victims. To speak for them. To give them Justice, while still keeping the public as informed as we can, under the circumstances.
I don’t doubt the sincerity and the dedication of the author. Her conviction to her craft. In fact, I admire those traits. I have said as much on more than one occasion.
Again I ponder the merits of my self-imposed 24 hour rule. Give yourself 24 hours to calm down a little and think over your response.
It don’t win today…Send it.
Chief Scott Grant
Lancaster Police Department