GHS - Why do we not allow pictures and descriptions on vehicle accidents

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Not everyone understands why Grays Harbor Scanner has so many rules and why they have the rules they do have.  There are a lot of times when page fans get really upset at the rules because they feel they have the right to know the information that they are asking for.  Well, it is not as simple as that.  And in this article let me explain about one of the most important rules we have regarding vehicle accidents. 

The first and most major rules of GHS that we are going to discuss is no posting of photos of accident scenes, vehicle descriptions and names.

We do not mind the photos being posted, but we will hide them to show them much later after the incident has passed.  Photos posted much after the fact that are all audiences appropriate are fine.  People are going to take pictures and want to share them we get that. 

Several years ago the Washington State Patrol and State Chiefs Association put out a request to all media outlets and scanner pages in the state asking them to not post and put out information that releases the vehicle description.  The reason was this, a scanner page in Lewis County had posted all kinds of information and photos of an accident scene on Interstate 5.  While the officers were out investigating the accident which was a fatality family members of the deceased showed up frantic and upset.  They had seen the post on the scanner page from Lewis County and officers then had to stop investigating and clearing the accident and get the family that had shown up off the scene and counseled.   Officers investigating the scene were surprised to have family show up, not prepared because they had not released any information,  

As a responder myself I have to agree with this, scene safety is number one priority and having family members and friends of someone involved in an incident show up all upset because they saw it on a scanner alert is really hard on everyone.  

In the past this information was not so easily accessible but with the change in social media and the way we gather and share information is so much quicker and can put officers, and family members at risk. 

While we understand that people want to know if it was their family member or friend involved in the incident we will honor the reqest that was sent out several years ago. 

Here are a few things we suggest for those who are upset and want to know if it is their friend, family member or co-worker involved in an incident 

1.  Call them on their phone and check in with them.  So many people jus do not do this. 

2.  Call the dispatch non-emergency line for either WSP or your local dispatch and ask them.  Now they may not always give you the information depending on the department's protocol.  

2.  Just wait, if it is your family member someone will contact you.