The email writer was distraught. He had heard that notice of his arrest was listed in the , but he was adamant that that he had not been arrested.
I checked the log, which had been posted just hours earlier. Indeed, the unhappy emailer was listed as having been “arrested” by the police after being stopped for speeding. The police had run his license, found that it was expired and issued him a summons as well as had his car towed.
The police classify this violation as an arrest, as opposed to their two other classifications: offenses and accidents.
But is an expired license really an arrest? And, is it fair to list a man or woman as having been arrested because the police classify expired licenses as an arrest?
Technically, we did nothing wrong. But when I read that email, I didn’t feel as if we had done right either.
The disclaimer at the top of the arrests from the police log – “An arrest does not indicate a conviction” – tries to level the playing field a bit but, the fact is, the word “arrest” carries a lot of weight.
The situation made me think once more about the policy that was in place when we were my02818.com: the Police Log then listed no names at all, just the person’s street (if from EG) or city or town. More than a few people complained that they wished we would print the names of those arrested.
It is Patch policy (EG Patch is part of a network of more than 800 Patch sites around the country), however, to print names of those arrested, along with that disclaimer.
But cities and town police departments don’t necessarily include expiration violations in the reports available to the press. EGPD does and we print them. But from now on we will distinguish between those arrests that involve a detention and those that result in a citation or summons. It seems only right.