Chip Scanlan, Poynter Institute

As a follow-up to our visit to the Moscow Police Department, here are some tips for covering the police beat and crime from Chip Scanlan, former director of writing programs for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Scanlan provides links to helpful web resources, as well as this advice from Stephen Buckley, national correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times:

“Cops are human, too: When the cops do something good, get it into the paper. Even if you think it’s just going to be a scrawny six-inch story buried deep in the Metro section, write it up. Police officers feel like they take a lot of criticism but rarely receive praise when they do something good. And they’re right.”

Can you think of stories about law enforcement agencies in Idaho or Washington that fit into this category?  Where would one go to find story ideas?