We wish the best for Heather Hamel as the Manchester Police Department’s first civilian PIO (Public Information Officer).
We think the department ought to be able to handle its own press and public information needs without having to add non-police personnel to its sizable payroll. But if this appointment leads to better communication for a vital city department, we will welcome it.
Violent crime has been down in Manchester in recent years but the nature of the violence has been increasingly dangerous. Schools have been locked down. The city is also contending with an opioid crisis, which also adds to crime through burglaries and robberies. Getting information out to the public as quickly and accurately as possible is a good thing.
One word of caution for Ms. Hamel, a former TV news reporter. She said one thing police hope to achieve with her hiring is “somebody who can really put a positive spin on the police department, make sure that the police department — all of their achievements, all the good work they do on a daily basis, is really showcased.”
There’s nothing wrong with showcasing all the good the police do. But when it comes to getting out timely information on criminal matters, “spin” is not what the public wants or needs. Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.