Monday, February 4, 2013

UPDATE: Colorado Springs police feud with local TV station

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM

A portion of the disputed file footage, showing fully armored SWAT officers.
  • A portion of the disputed file footage, showing fully armored SWAT officers.

Update, Monday, Feb. 4, 3:12 p.m.: We heard back from Barbara Miller, CSPD's public-information officer, who said she'd call us back later with a more detailed response. In the meantime, anchor James Jarman says he understands the department's concerns about how SWAT was depicted, but wished it had been communicated differently.

"Her posting that e-mail on Facebook, I’ve never seen anything like that," he says in a phone interview. "And I didn’t know about it until — I mean, I was sitting on the desk, anchoring the 4 p.m. [newscast], and I looked on our iPad and I saw somebody had posted something on Facebook about ‘Are you gonna apologize to CSPD?’ So I went to their page, and that was the first hint I got of anything that was even a concern."

And though the two sides are set to meet soon to discuss the report, Jarman says his feeling of unfair treatment from the PIO's office has been around for a while.

"My main issue, and I feel like I’m kind of standing up for all the reporters here, is there’s not a week goes by they don’t come in complaining about having trouble getting information from the public-information office to give to the public," he says. "It’s clear to me, from talking to friends who are officers ... the public-information office is not run by CSPD anymore."


Though the wrongfully issued Florida warrant that had a local woman, 56-year-old Catherene Wilson, mistakenly arrested was most traumatizing for her, there were a few other feathers ruffled in KRDO-TV's reporting of the event: mainly, those of the Colorado Springs Police Department. It all stems from a few seconds of generic footage the ABC affiliate used showing fully armored SWAT team members approaching a residence with assault rifles drawn.

Here's what the department wrote Friday on its Facebook page: "While your coverage made it appear that our entire SWAT Team went to the arrestee’s home, the truth is, 3 members went," wrote the department. "Just so you know, it is standard for any Fugitive Apprehension detail, that 2 members execute a warrant for Officer Safety reasons. In this case, a 3rd member who is new, accompanied them for training purposes. There is clearly a distinction between SWAT officers handling routine calls and a SWAT mission. This was obviously not a SWAT mission."

And though KRDO noted in its report that Wilson held no ill will towards CSPD, and that officers called later to check on her well-being, police were not mollified: "While the reporter clearly mentioned {at the end of the story} how Ms. Wilson praised the actions of our [Tactical Enforcement Unit] officers — the damage was already done with the portrayal of an armed SWAT Team with guns drawn preparing to arrest a sweet older woman.

"In fairness to the Colorado Springs Police Department, an accurate portrayal was not done and an on-air correction would be greatly appreciated."

In Facebook comments below the story — which have since been deleted, but were captured at the time by the Indy — KRDO anchor James Jarman defended his report (not to mention made a few allegations himself, referencing his old job at KOAA-TV).



We reached out to both Jarman and Miller for comment and will update this post if we hear back. In the meantime, the station did follow up on its story, saying Friday night, "We apologize, of course, if the file video left any of you with any misconception about what happened."

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