October 05. 2013 3:43AM

AG not helping police: Refusal to inform harms everyone


New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster says, apparently with a straight face, that his people "try to get information out as quickly as they can."


A state police trooper shoots and kills an unlicensed motorist in the middle of a Manchester neighborhood, and Foster's office repeatedly refuses to identify the officer or inform the public as to his work status.

The shooting happened nearly one week ago.

Two Weare police officers shoot and kill a fleeing suspect in a drug sting operation. Foster's office continues to refuse to identify the officers. The shooting occurred on Aug. 14.

New Hampshire law enforcement agencies and personnel, by and large, do highly commendable work in situations in which few members of the general public would like to find themselves.

When its top law agency, rather than being open and forthcoming with the people it claims to serve, declines to promptly answer the basic questions in very serious incidents, it promotes doubt, suspicion and distrust. That does a disservice to law enforcement and to the public.

In the Weare case, Foster's office says it is still investigating to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified. Fine. But if this were a non-police homicide, the identities of the shooters would have long since been made public.

Instead, in both the Weare and Manchester cases, the perception grows that the police are protecting their own.

That's a strange twist for those whose motto is to protect and serve.