Opinion: Police blotter doesn’t serve community

by Stephanie Lash, junior/Special to The Simpsonian

On Thursday, Oct. 9, The Simpsonian published an editorial regarding publishing a weekly police blotter. They stated their goal as a student publication is to “serve the community with accurate information regarding what happens among the community. It is not to tarnish someone’s name or to ruin anyone’s reputation.” When these blotters have been published, some students have been not only upset but disappointed with the publication. When I first heard about the editorial, I thought it was some sort of a satire. I heard nothing about it being untrue, and came to find out it was accurate. It was at this point I became livid, disappointed and upset. When I read the piece, the feelings perpetuated.  

Upon reading this editorial, I was more infuriated because it didn’t explain the purpose of the initial write-up. The Simpsonian stated they are serving the community. I am fully aware that the incidents are public record through the Indianola Police Department. This is not a question of it being public record, but more a matter of why The Simpsonian must publish the information. Who is this serving? If The Simpsonian claimed this police blotter is serving the Simpson College community, why aren’t all the arrests, warnings and tickets printed? Furthermore, why aren’t other issues affecting the community of Simpson reported?

For example, in my own research I found that on Sept. 28 a Simpson student reported a bike being stolen on campus. Why wasn’t that reported if there is potential for a similar crime to happen again? Rather, The Simpsonian chose to print an arrest for public intoxication and a minor in possession of alcohol, as if that never happens on our campus.  

The publishing of the arrest, while public information, serves no one. In fact, not only does it not serve the community in any manner, it further drags these individuals’ names and reputations through the mud. Choices are made, but must we really continue to advertise this to our Simpson community, of which these individuals are still part? How would you feel if it were your name in the publication the vast majority of our students, staff and faculty read?

More than anything I am disappointed in The Simpsonian’s choice to publish this weekly. In my opinion, it serves no one. With the intent to serve the Simpson community in mind, there are more productive and thought-provoking ways to do so. I am not denying The Simpsonian’s ability and freedom to publish this information; I am merely asking they please reevaluate the reasons behind their publications and who they affect.