PR Specialist: IMPD Has Responded Well to Scandals
But best solution is to avoid bad situation to begin with
|Marilyn Shank (submitted photo)
An Indianapolis PR specialist gives IMPD high marks for its handling of a summer of scandal.
The trouble began in June, when a 15-year-old boy accused police of unnecessary force in arresting him for disorderly conduct. An internal investigation led to the firing of one officer, Jerry Piland, while three others were cleared of any wrongdoing, a verdict which divided local civil-rights groups.
This month, the department absorbed a one-two punch from charges accusing officer David Bisard of driving drunk in a crash which killed a motorcyclist, followed by revelations Bisard's blood-alcohol test had been bungled and would be inadmissible. And on Monday, word emerged that the prosecutor's office is investigating allegations that another officer was drunk during a hit-and-run accident.
Despite the cascade of bad news, Marilyn Shank with Shank Public Relations says the city has handled the PR aspect as well as it could.
"Your best defense to a bad situation is not to get into that situation," Shank says. "But once you're there, come clean, tell the story, and then take corrective action. I think they have told the story -- I think they're on their way to corrective action."
Shank says the city needs to show it's fixing the problems -- for instance, reviewing the procedures used to draw a legally valid blood sample, and then making sure all officers are trained in those procedures.