Update: A short time ago, we posted about the arrest of a Loveland police officer on suspicion of domestic violence and child abuse; see our previous coverage below.
In that item, we noted that the Larimer County Sheriff's Office was declining to release the name of the suspect, even though law-enforcement agencies routinely reveal such information about a wide range of people — including former Berthoud police officer, Jeremy Yachik, who was arrested in 2013 on similar charges.
We reached out to the LCSO about this apparent double standard — and to its credit, the agency has done an about-face.
"Investigators attempting to protect the identities of the victims opted not to release the arrestee's name," notes public information officer David Moore. "However, we should have."
That name? Robert Croner, who goes by Rob.
In our earlier report, we alluded to Croner's high profile with the Loveland Police Department. He's a K-9 officer who's frequently been front-and-center in feel-good stories.
In 2011, for example, Croner and his beloved dog, D'Jango, were highlighted in a Loveland Reporter-Herald piece about the department attempting to raise $70,000 to increase the size of its canine crew.
Then, in 2013, PoliceOne.com published a photo of Croner saluting D'Jango on the occasion of the dog's retirement from the force.
The same photo was used in a PetMemorialCards.com post from later that year. The article revealed that D'Jango had passed away and detailed the vacuum he'd left for Croner and his family.
The Reporter-Herald also published a 2013 story about Croner being paired with a new canine partner, Shadow — and Shadow's training as a drug-sniffing dog taught not to target marijuana resulted in a 7News report on view below.
Regarding the incident or incidents that led to Croner's arrest, public-information officer Moore says, "we're keeping the details of the investigation quiet for now." But he confirms that "any arrest is a public record" and stresses that making that information available is the "typical policy" of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.
Presumably, then, the policy wasn't followed when Croner's name was initially withheld.
Here's the aforementioned 7News report from 2013, followed by our previous coverage.
Original post, 10:16 a.m. May 11: A Loveland police officer has been arrested on charges that include domestic violence and child abuse.
What's his name? The Larimer County Sheriff's Office isn't releasing it "in order to protect the identities of the alleged female victim and any children involved."
Is this a double standard? After all, individuals accused of crimes like these are publicly ID'd all the time — and the same is true of police officers.
Example: In October 2013, plenty of information was revealed about Jeremy Yachik, a Berthoud police officer busted for allegedly beating his daughter for eating carrots, among other things — his name included.
As for the agency that shared his moniker, it was the Loveland Police Department — the same agency for which the current officer is employed. Its original release can be viewed by clicking here. And when the Berthoud Police Department's operations were suspended amid investigations into assorted controversies, its duties were taken over by...the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.
When news organizations are faced with this kind of blackout, they're forced to employ other methods to tell the story — but if those that decide to publish the name in this case risk endangering their relationship with law enforcement.
Both organizations feature the basics. The arrest took place at 4:23 a.m. on Friday, May 8 on suspicion of third-degree assault and class-1 child abuse (both misdemeanors), accompanied by a domestic violence enhancer.
However, the Coloradoan hasn't used the officer's name thus far — although reporter Jason Pohl clearly knows who he is. An excerpt from his article reads, "The Coloradoan has identified the officer through public jail records as a 35-year-old Loveland man."
But the piece goes on to say the paper "will not publish the suspect's name until it's decided whether formal charges will be filed...due to the sensitivity of the case involving a child."
In contrast, 7News is using the name, for reasons explained in this excerpt:
The station is identifying the suspect because his arrest is a matter of public record and the arrest of a police office for an alleged criminal offense is a matter of public importance. Colorado law states that law enforcement agencies cannot withhold the names of people who have been arrested.
Turns out the officer is one of the most prominent public faces in the Loveland PD, having been featured in a slew of articles and broadcast reports. One piece even includes the names of his kids.
Before determining which course to take, we contacted the Larimer County Sheriff's Office to ask if there is something unusual about the current case that makes it different and to learn more about its general policy in regard to reporting the names of individuals arrested for domestic violence and child abuse. We'll update this post upon receiving a reply.
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