Now more than ever, newspaper editors and their staff must check their facts prior to publishing articles.
In the most recent issue of the Coastal Point, it was reported that at a recent Town Council meeting a resident of South Bethany, Brenda Hossick, “said she was furious that she had to wait for a Fenwick Island officer to respond to an emergency involving strangers on her property. Until the police arrived, she said, the 911 operator asked if Hossick had a gun in the house.”
She continued by berating the Town Council members, saying, “And you all better get some cops here… I’m holding you responsible.”
However, this tale of woe is hopelessly inaccurate. Ms. Hossick’s call was answered by SUSCOM, the police dispatcher for this area. A South Bethany police officer responded to the call and was at Ms. Hossik’s home within 2 minutes. Within a few more minutes, a Fenwick Island officer showed up as backup.
The officers met the “strangers” — one man, her neighbor — in the driveway of the Hossick home and confronted him. At this point, Ms. Hossick came to her door and greeted the “stranger” with effusive good will and assured the policemen that they were old friends and that all was well.
With regard to SUSCOM asking about a gun in the house, this is standard protocol for incidents of this type. An armed homeowner walking around outside could send the responding police the wrong message, leading to additional problems.
In the end, there was no prowler, there was no home invasion, and there was no obvious reason for the exuberant outburst by Ms. Hossick.
There was absolutely no justification for the unpleasant and false rhetoric that South Bethany Council members and residents had to witness. Your reporting was a disservice to the town of South Bethany and to its police department.
I understand that your reporter was merely reporting the event, not the veracity of the event. A journalist would have reported both, by checking the two police reports that were filed on the incident.