Stockton police chief talks transparency, handling protests

STOCKTON - As the nation reacts to how police and protesters are behaving in Missouri, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones could have been facing a similar scenario, but isn't.

Jones said Monday police gunfire killed hostage Misty Singh during a bank robbery, kidnapping and shootout incident on July 16.

Jones has been open about the incident since the beginning and has earned community support for his willingness to talk about the shooting.

"Why not for the community and the family, put it out as soon as possible?" Jones said. "We definitely understood the gravity and the need to be as open and transparent as possible."

Stockton police have also dealt with several protests the last few years, following other fatal shootings involving police officers. Jones said it's the department's policy to allow protests, as long as they remain peaceful and lawful.

"Our stance is we encourage free speech, and people having a voice. We just can't have laws broken," Jones said. "We try on the front end to meet with organizers, and explain how to do it. They have their voices. On our end it's explaining how they go about that and get the message out."

Jones said there are no rules to follow for how and when to distribute sensitive information.

"There's no rule book, that's the first rule. Every single case is so different, they have to be analyzed," Jones said. "I think the key is, lay the groundwork, gain and hold the community's trust. Be open and transparent, that's the rule book."


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