UPDATE: Colorado Springs police feud with local TV station

Posted by Bryce Crawford 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."

———ORIGINAL POST———

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).

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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."

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Send in the clowns...why do they need a SWAT team, when a little common sense fact checking would have avoided arresting the woman at all.

The CSPD is the gang that can't shoot straight...it is they and not citizens with guns who are the biggest threat to our safety. Not to mention that they all ought to stop driving around talking to their girl friends on their cell phones during working hours.

These are the folks about whom the second amendment was written giving us the right to protect ourselves against them.

I guess the truth hurts when they see themselves for who they really are on TV.

report 15 likes, 7 dislikes   
Posted by TejonTech on 02/04/2013 at 1:22 PM

Well, can we possibly get any more petty? Despite Jarmans initial objections, KRDO was wrong and he even publicly ate crow on the air for the misrepresentation of how this incident went down. Maybe instead of getting into a pissing contest with the CSPD PIO, he should have just accepted from the beginning that they screwed up.
And to TejonTech: They didn't send a SWAT "team"...they sent some officers assigned to the SWAT unit to serve the warrant. That's what they do when they're not on SWAT type of incident. Get over yourself and your feigned offended attitude.

report 5 likes, 10 dislikes   
Posted by Stuff happens on 02/04/2013 at 1:49 PM

The statements made by Mr. Jarman about favoritism simply aren't true. I work at another TV station here in town and Ms. Miller has been nothing but a true professional to everyone. The video used did make it appear as if the arrest was a major TEU operation and I believe that Mr. Jarman knowa this as well.

report 3 likes, 5 dislikes   
Posted by rumrow on 02/04/2013 at 2:48 PM

stuff...none of that counters my point that our local police are not the best ad brightest group ever assembled.

The reason they have to replace the police cars so often is that the seats springs are crushed from so many large bottoms sitting on them. Can you imagine these guys actually having to chase someone? Are there no fitness standards at CSPD?

report 5 likes, 8 dislikes   
Posted by TejonTech on 02/04/2013 at 3:05 PM

TT, I'd like to see you suit up in 30 pbs of equipment, run into a building not knowing what kind of response you might get from an armed suspect and take a bullet when serving a warrent. I think you can only handle the dunking a donut into a coffee cup part of being a cop.

report 4 likes, 6 dislikes   
Posted by gurudori on 02/04/2013 at 4:46 PM

Right Guru...and how many times has that happened?

And I don't drink coffee or eat donuts.

report 6 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by TejonTech on 02/04/2013 at 5:06 PM

My wife was assaulted at a hookah lounge, and the police didn't bother to do anything. After persistent attempts to get resolution, nothing was pursued. My wife had a black eye for 2 weeks from a guy jumping on her and hitting her... It was on camera too! The cops nowadays don't do anything.

report 8 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by Disappointed on 02/04/2013 at 9:37 PM

A liar? How's that? TT

report 2 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Wondering on 02/05/2013 at 9:52 AM

I have admired James Jarman's work for many years. No one in this city can match his investigative journalism. That said, he admitted that a mistake was made with the video. Every reporter in this market has made mistakes on stories before. He apologized for it.

The real issue, I believe, is that PIO Barbara Miller is using a facebook page that speaks for the entire police department as her own editorial page, complete with bias towards a certain tv station. That is wrong. A couple of weeks ago she wrote a glowing comment on the police department's facebook page about Channel 5. It was after the station made a big on air mistake, and later apologized. Many of us who saw the post were pretty taken aback at how she used the police department page to showcase her favortism for that station.

I think I speak for a lot of reporters in this town when I say, let's keep it fair. We are all trying to get the stories out to people. Don't abuse your position by deciding which tv audience gets the message.

report 4 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by radionews on 02/05/2013 at 10:49 AM

The SWAT members acted together within their assigned roles, communicated with each other, and worked in concert in order to achieve a common goal. That is, in my mind, a "team." It might've been a small "team," but it was indeed a team. And there shold've been NO apology issued to the CSPD!

The CSPD PIO is a PITA to get information from for freelance journalists! I almost feel better knowing the bigger-name journalists and broadcasters run into the same trouble-- shows a pattern of intent. I can call the PIO here and they actually answer the phone, return calls quickly, and provide information right away. I don't miss CO at all.

report 3 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Jo Dawgie on 02/05/2013 at 11:38 AM

James Jarmon makes up and sets up half his stories...he is a nasty piece of work I can tell you...seen it and believe it.

report 3 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by TejonTech on 02/05/2013 at 1:10 PM

This whole story confuses me. Did they use stock footage? And made it appear if that was the actual news event? That would be a huge breach of journalism ethics. But the text of the story is not clear.

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by sjm on 02/07/2013 at 9:43 AM
Showing 1-12 of 12

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