G.J. Confidential

Glenn Coyne probably picked the first motel sign he saw, eastbound on I-70 coming out of the foothills, entering the western fringe of Metro Denver along its longest surface street, and ironically just a block or two from the city limits of Lakewood, where the interim Chief that fired him normally plies his trade.

That’s about as far as I’ll go into speculating about the sad end to the life of a husband, father, police officer. The loud headlines and reporting told everything else that will sell newspapers and boost the almighty ratings book, but told precious little about what was going on with this man, and what his real story might have been.

I knew this man, not well enough to say anything profound about his final days or his motives. I certainly did read enough about his missteps, alleged and otherwise, under the byline of the Daily Sentinel’s new crime dog, Paul Shockley. He has certainly taken the bull by the horns in reporting on numerous stories of late involving crime, prosecutors, and the court system.

In recent weeks, Mr. Shockley explored the alleged criminal activity of Mr. Coyne and former officer Courtney Crooks with a fervor and diligence that calls up something between a James Ellroy potboiler and the latest exploits of Nancy Grace. I was riveted, I tell you, by the sordid account of then-Deputy Coyne of the Santa Rosa County (FL) Sheriff’s Department crashing his patrol car. Wow….

I believe that the jury is still out on whether this latest reporting will contribute to substantive improvements in our community’s impression of law enforcement. In the meantime, I’m visualizing Mr. Shockley hunched over an old Underwood portable, clacking away like Danny DeVito, “on the Q.T, and very hush-hush“.

To his credit, Mr. Shockley has also taken an approach to crime reporting that I haven’t seen in a long while. When a member of the media mentions the “recommended bond schedule” that judges follow when deciding how much bail to assign a defendant for release from jail pending trial, it’s a unique occurrence. Considering the largely unreported number of outstanding warrants in our court system, this line of reporting could definitely be some interesting reading, especially when judicial retention elections are on the horizon. Keep it up.

As the other paper in town opined recently, in GJPD we still trust. Having been part of that department for a lot of years, and having spent my share of that time in management’s doghouse, I can appreciate the extraordinary amount of diligence and effort that goes into assuring that whoever represents the department as an employee is capable of that role from all manner of perspectives and requirements. Due diligence in these areas makes a lot of sense, and Chief Camper’s request for an outside audit can certainly help sharpen those processes, and/or bring some of the realities of trying to find qualified people into sharp perspective.

Here’s to success in those future efforts, along with a wish for measured, careful, diligent reporting of crime and punishment in the local media.

I take my FAA oral and practical examination this weekend, and if successful I will walk away a licensed Aircraft Dispatcher. Then the real fun will start.

Have a good week ahead.

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