After a delay that only lasted a weekend, a Baltimore County police sergeant can resume sending out weekly crime reports to Towson-area residents. As we reported this morning, Sgt. Stephen Fink had said last week that his emails had been suspended pending review.
People were worried that the department was cancelling the helpful guide altogether, hinting at a time two years ago when police commanders became irate because not only were citizens getting the information, but so too were the media.
Elise Armacost, a county police spokeswoman, said in an email to me that the review as sparked by concern from some investigators that too much detail was being released too soon. I hope that the practice by Fink will be expanded.
Here's the latest from Elise Armacost:
"We've been talking for some time about how to improve and expand precinct-level communications -- not scale them back.
"You are right, there is nothing wrong from a public information standpoint with the White Marsh precinct crime report that you published today. We know that citizens want and deserve current information about local crime, and we want all of our captains to provide it.
However, as is often the case, the devil is in the details. We have concerns about precincts providing details with the potential to compromise open investigations, especially investigations handled by the CID, Criminal Investigation Division, (as opposed to by the precincts themselves)."
In any event, Fink says he's back. I'm not sure whether some crime information is being withheld at the request of the Criminal Investigation Division, but I hope not. Residents deserve to know when a burglar is on the loose in their neighborhood. Here's the latest crime report: