Writing a blog focusing on the slip-ups of public officials is sometimes exhilarating, sometimes a headache.
Frequent readers of Geneva Believer will notice that I almost always refer to the “newsroom” as “us” or “we.” Although I’ve written about 98% of the articles, Geneva Believer has never been a one-person effort.
Since launching the blog, I’ve rarely felt like I was doing it alone. I’ve received numerous tips, comments, and feedback from a variety of sources. Some are private citizens, some have jobs with the city, the county, the state, or otherwise. I have contacts who are traditional journalists, free speech experts, activists, attorneys, blue collar, and white collar. Most of the articles you’ve read on the blog wouldn’t have been possible without the expertise, inside knowledge and assistance of many folks who share concerns about transparency related to local government.
Understandably, the majority of those who help out behind the scenes at Geneva Believer wish to remain anonymous, for a variety of valid reasons. They might be concerned about personal or professional repercussions in response to speaking out. And that’s fine with me.
I’ve willingly and knowingly taken on the role of the guy who gets sideways glances and hears whispers at the grocery store, or has awkward encounters around town with subjects or detractors of the blog, or faces pointedly personal public criticism from elected officials and others.
Overall, though, it’s not a bad gig.
Today, a compelling story came across the Geneva Believer news desk that cannot be verified by any available documentation.
The individual who told me this story has, in the past, provided me with extremely accurate information, some of which was later confirmed as true. So, I lean strongly toward believing this story due to the source’s credibility thus far.
It is possible that the information is inaccurate, and readers should know that I’ve carefully considered whether or not to blog about it.
It’s expected that I will experience some negative public feedback, considering that I don’t have documentation to confirm the story, and detractors may accuse me of being anti-police or of fabricating the story.
However, I feel that it’s important enough to share so that readers may draw their own conclusions.
My source has reported that Geneva Police Chief Jeff Trickler has become annoyed and frustrated by recent stories published on Geneva Believer. Recently, Trickler allegedly made it clear to officers that he is going to do what he can to discourage me from writing about police affairs. He allegedly wants officers to target me and write traffic and parking tickets, cite me for littering violations, or otherwise accuse me of whatever infractions can be found.
Deep down, I don’t believe this. I can’t imagine that by writing articles based on publicly accessible information, I would drive the Chief to want to harass me. But if there is any truth to the rumor, I will be sure that any future targeting or harassment is documented and shared here on Geneva Believer.
I’m a careful driver. I’ve never had a speeding ticket or moving violation, and I keep my nose clean like most working class Genevans do. Since moving to the city over five years ago, I’ve never been pulled over by the GPD. In fact, I’ve never had any interaction with any on-duty GPD officers that I can recall.
Again, I can’t imagine that this unofficial harassment campaign is true. But I suppose there’s no way to know unless it happens. And if it does happen, Geneva Believer will have all of the details.