Saturday, July 12, 2008

A New Chapter

by Joyce Tremel

Although at the time I write this, I haven't heard anything officially, I am pretty sure I'm no longer the secretary for the Shaler Township Police Department. Apparently a couple officers took offense to some things I wrote in my blogs and took it up with the township manager. He seemed to think that I painted the township in a bad light, and I was suspended.

I'm still flabbergasted (cool word, don't you think?) that anyone could possibly take offense to anything I wrote. I was always extremely careful not to mention anything confidential. On the rare occasion I wrote about a case, I made sure it was something that was public knowledge and had already been written about in the media. Any joking around or teasing was done in the same way you'd tease a sibling. I thought these guys were my friends. Apparently I was wrong.

That really bothers me. I know some of these guys have read my blogs before--I sent them links--and they never once had anything bad to say about what I'd written. A couple of times I actually got a comment that they liked it! But now? Not a peep out of them. Not a phone call. Not an email.

To me, this is a First Amendment issue. I've never written anything detrimental to the township. On the contrary, I've brought them free publicity. Many people outside of law enforcement think cops are power hungry jerks. I've tried my best to paint them as caring human beings, who have the same foibles as the rest of us. My blogs are written to give (mostly) writers a glimpse into the world of law enforcement. I don't think I've done too badly with that.

So, I'm onto a new chapter. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. I might do some freelance work if I can find it, and I'll probably apply for some jobs doing something a little less stressful than working in a police department. For now, I'll get caught up on things around the house and do a lot of writing. And I'll definitely keep blogging.

The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

16 comments:

Tory said...

Quite frankly, I've always thought your portrayal of the police was overly positive.

I'm NOT happy to be proved right!!!

Annette said...

Joyce, as you know, I think this whole situation sucks swamp water. Some people have absolutely NO sense of humor. I always felt your posts showed cops to be human and caring as opposed to how they usually are represented in the media.

But I also believe that Shaler PD is the bigger loser here. They will have to search far and wide to find someone who works as hard as you. And who can spell.

As for you, Joyce, bigger, better things are in your future. May this incident just facilitate the good stuff to come.

Lee Lofland said...

Joyce, you know I'm behind you all the way. I truly hate to see things like this happen to people we all care about. Especially, to someone who is so proud of her department. That sentiment flowed from every single one of your writings.

My own blog is online for two reasons: to help writers with their facts about police work, CSI, and forensics, and to show support for police officers everywhere. They are such unsung heroes. However, a situation such as yours (no support from your friends in the department) can shed an awfully dim light on the bad apples of the profession.

It's sad, but when the chips are down we're usually quick to learn who our true friends really are. If it's any consolation, I think you have more really good friends than the fair-weather ones you lost.

Now go out and write a new book. Somehow, I think I already know the plot.

ramona said...

This makes me sad on several levels, Joyce. That you respected the police officers in Shaler, and the township as well, was never in question. Your blogs were entertaining and educational. They humanized the sometimes scary and mysterious guys in uniform. That was a winning combination for everyone. It is too bad someone/s could not see that.

It's also sad that you are not getting the support you gave in kind. But, maybe we are being hasty, and someone who might want to speak up is wary. Hopefully, reading the First Amendment will give some stand-up guys a kick in the right place to post or email about you today.

Kristine said...

Your situation is distressing to me on so many levels. You've been nothing but professional in your posts, and it's shame that you are now being punished for being honest in your writing.

I've NEVER viewed your posts as disrespectful or negative. Quite the contrary. You've always portrayed a true account of law enforcement, and through them, I've grown to view all cops and the procedures they conduct in a new light. You've also shown a human element to it all by using humor about what you experience every day.

You provided truth--a rare thing in light of how the TV shows and news media get it wrong.

I look forward to great things from you in the future, Joyce. Continue blogging. You're doing a good thing. Even if not everyone can see it.

Sarah G said...

Sorry to hear that you were dooced. This is one of the reasons I never mention my employer on my blogs, even though my office isn't in the public eye.

Your bosses don't realize, though, what 'bad' really is: a police officer here in Lexington was fired after revealing DUI arrest details of a country singer on his MySpace page. He also posted insulting remarks about the citizens he was sworn to protect. It didn't go over well, especially since the case with the country singer hadn't gone to trial yet.

Hang in there!

JennieB said...

Turn it into a book, Joyce. Get lots of publicity. Get a movie option. Insist your character be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones or Angelina Jolie or someone else who floats your boat. It'll be the best revenge.

Cathy said...

Joyce,
Best of luck on the new direction in your life. Evidently, since you've learned so much about police work, it's time to focus on something else. It's just so hard not to be angry, angrier, and just plain pissed in a situation like this (I know), which isn't particularly good for you, so get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and whatever restores your serenity.

We're all behind you 1000%.

Joyce said...

Thanks for all the support. It's good to see who my true friends are.

I'm just still amazed at the whole situation. I'm trying not to be angry and I'm trying to "take the high road" as to what I say. It's hard not to be bitter after giving ten years of my life to them.

Mari said...

Hey! They just gave you the time to write your best-selling novel, and some of them may not fare so well in it. NEVER fire a writer and give him or her unlimited time to write. That'll teach them!!!!!!!

Joyce said...

Good point, Mari!

maryalice@mysterylovers said...

Joyce, while we all agree this situation is so wrong on so many levels, I congratulate you on your professionalism and wish you nothing but full success on your future path.

Helen said...

Hold your head high Joyce. Everyone who reads your blog, except for the few who apparently complained, know you have always been fair and positive.

Now you can move forward and see what interesting and great things come next.

KathyMH said...

Joyce,

This really, truly sucks,but as many others have said, this is going to be a huge opportunity for you. Use this time wisely, be kind to yourself, and take all the anger you feel right now and channel it into whatever you're working on. And think about what an awesome story you'll have for when that new project sells;)

Kathy

Anonymous said...

Tried to leave a comment but it is lost in cyberspace somewhere so...here is the shorter, edited version...comment for a non-writer.

Joyce...Agree wholeheartedly with all of your Working Stiff friends and completely and vehemently disagree with the actual STIFFS that you worked with in the township. The @!##$$%#@&* that you working with in S were apparently "large" on EGO and "lacking" any sense of humor. Your family and true friends are very proud of your professionalism and willingness to speak truth to power. Now you have the time, and support to really show them how it's done. Respect and love you, and value you as my sister. Amy

Anonymous said...

Oops...looks like Joyce IS the speller in the family. Should have edited, or at proofread my comment.
Amy