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Dr. Skip Myers
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Jail Report publisher responds to Editor's Opinion
web posted September 3, 2010
After reading your column about
The Jail Report, I thought it might be
helpful to let you know a little about our publication for future
I am the publisher and started the paper in June 2009 out of passion
for journalism and the police beat. As you are well aware with the
popularity of (Edgefield Daily), there is room for different kinds of
media these days instead of the traditional newspapers and TV stations.
Ever since we started our publication in the CSRA, residents of
Edgefield County have been begging us to add their county and provide
them with the same crime information we provided to Richmond, Aiken and
From Arielle Demetria Thomas: "I feel like we need to know what goes on
in Edgefield because the crime blotter is only reported once a week and
doesn't give much info.”
So after more than a year, we finally agreed to add Edgefield County
information to our paper.
I should also point our that I have a great love for Edgefield County.
As a youth, I spent much time in the county for family events. I even
rode a bicycle through the streets of downtown Edgefield on several
occasions. To this day, I have family connections in Edgefield.
With that said, I thought it was time to accept the invitation of
Edgefield residents to come there and provide them with specific crime
and arrest information.
I called the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office and asked for Sheriff
Dobey, and I was directed to Capt. Chris Wash. I introduced myself and
tried to explain about our paper. He quickly said that they were "not
interested in participating."
Can you imagine what you would have done at Edgefielddaily.com if they
had told you that they were "not interested in participating" when you
first started (Edgefield Daily)? I'd really like to know your answer to
I humbly explained that we were going to start the publication and were
not asking for permission, but that we wanted to work with them to be a
resource. I acknowledged that the sheriff's office was probably
overworked like most agencies and that we would be willing to pay for
mugshots or incident reports. He said we could come down and get the
bookings and reports like anyone else.
Soon after, though, the jail informed me that Sheriff Dobey was
declining to release mugshots because they were property of the sheriff
and private. We were forced to get the involvement of the S.C.
Sheriff's Association and the S.C. Press Association to explain to
Sheriff Dobey that they are public record under state law. (To this
day, Sheriff Dobey refuses to meet with us to even discuss our
publication, and he has refused to send us press releases until we are
We have never asked for anything free. This week, when we got incident
reports and the wonderful woman in records printed them out for us, I
asked her if we owed her anything. She said no. (We would kindly pay
for them. Do you pay for reports and mugshots?)
It seems you believe that if you published all mugshots on
edgefielddaily.com, that we would become unnecessary. We disagree. The
Columbia County Sheriff's Office publishes all of their mugshots
online, but yet we still sell hundreds of papers a week in Columbia
Surely, you understand that there are people who do not enjoy Internet
access and would enjoy a printed publication? I know you are a popular
website, and for good reason. But you are not the only game in town.
Plus, our paper also includes an entertaining look at crime and the
dumb crooks who cause society so many problems.
One more point. If you ever ran into trouble getting information from a
public entity, we would hope you would not expect us to jump to
conclusions, get one side of the story and then write an opinion column
trashing you for having the nerve to seek the information. As a fellow
journalist, you would want us to stick up for you. And we would. It's
disappointing that you are not doing the same for us.
Please don't hesitate to call us for both sides of the story next time.
I can personally be reached at 706-814-1359.
The Jail Report
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