News Media Relations for Law Enforcement Leaders

By Gerald W. Garner; Reviewed by Thomas E. Engells, CPP

***** News Media Relations for Law Enforcement Leaders. By Gerald W. Garner. Charles C. Thomas Publisher,; 215 pages; $53.95; also available as e-book.

Gerald Garner, the chief of police in Greeley, Colorado, is a prolific author, and this latest work is a credible guide through the dangerous and dynamic relationship with the news media. It can be read as a textbook, serve as professional literature for law enforcement and security leaders, and provide a resource for the development of organizational policy and procedure.

Chapters are well-structured and practical in tone; material is presented succinctly, and each chapter closes with bulleted points to remember. The first half of the book explores the relationship between “cops and reporters,” including why good relations with the media can be mutually beneficial. Also discussed is the role and selection of a public information officer. The author then provides a deeper dive into media—newspapers, television, radio, and the Internet.

The second half of the book analyzes an efficient news interview, a productive news release, and a successful news conference. The author points out common media “dirty tricks” and productive countermeasures. The challenge of on-scene media relations is explored, and some commonsense guidelines and policies are outlined.

Media interest in policing, and to a lesser extent corporate security, will not wane. This book can provide security professionals with a better understanding of the functions of the modern news media, including nonaffiliated Internet journalists, as well as provide guidance on an effective organizational response. It is a worthy addition to any security professional’s library.

Thomas E. Engells, CPP, CPM (Certified Public Manager), is the Chief of Police at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He is a member of ASIS International.



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