Poll ResultsCurrently, the confidentiality guidelines I've established for this site are that when I receive a report of police misconduct by an individual I treat it confidentially and will not repeat what I've been told to anyone unless that person gives me express permission to share the information he or she has sent and has stated whom I may or may not share that information with. (whether that be lawyers who may be interested in helping or by posting a story about the complaint on the site).
Lately, though, it's been hard to keep some of these to myself because the allegations I hear from some people are very disturbing and, if true, really do need to be released to the public... but, I still keep them to myself out of principle, I do that in order to protect victims of police misconduct from retaliation and to protect them from further abuse that can be caused by public scruitiny. (the favorite tactic of the police when a misconduct case goes public is to do a character assassination on the person alleging abuse, it's not pleasant to go through that, trust me.)
So, I'm sort of at a crux because, when I reply to emails people send me and explain what I can and can't do to help and what our policies are about publishing stories, I don't get a response. I have reason to believe that it's partially because the site's email address has been put on spam blacklists by some of the more tech-savvy law enforcement department employees in the area as the emails I send from here end up in the spam folder of a few of the accounts I've tested.
Anyway... the point is... Should I change the site's confidentiality policy to default to sharing any information sent unless the sender explicitly states that they don't want the information shared like a regular reporter would do? Or should I keep the policy as it is and only share information when the person who reported it gives permission to make it public?
It's a tough call for me... I want to go under the assumption that people want their stories told when they write me and that the public really needs to hear about some of these more serious cases, but I also want to make certain that I don't do more harm than good by sharing anyone's story with the public.
So, why don't you tell me what you think I should do?
Mind you, I won't necessarily abide by the poll results, but I may take into consideration any convincing arguments for one side or the other.
In the meantime... my lips are sealed.