There have been times in my career as a magazine editor that I wasn't sure if anyone was reading my work. I felt a little bit like a castaway on a desert island cramming 2,500-word feature stories into bottles and throwing them into the ocean, hoping that someone might read them.
I've never felt like that at Police. And here's why. This magazine's readership is quick to give feedback, good or bad. In a career that's been longer than I want to remember, I have worked on titles that have had 20 times the readership of Police and one-tenth of the reader response.
In the last three years and change, I have come to know many of the readers of this magazine, and I know that you have great interest in our content, our direction, and our editorial stance.
That's the best explanation that I have for your constant feedback. Every day, we receive letters, e-mails, and forum responses at PoliceMag.com. Heck, if this was 50 years ago, we'd probably receive telegrams.
Unfortunately, we can't respond to every piece of reader correspondence that we receive. But we do publish as much of it as we can in our "Briefing Room" letters page.
OK. So why am I droning on about reader feedback? Well, this is my way of letting you know that your feedback is the greatest resource available to the Police staff.
Reader requests, forum comments, and other feedback from you often lead to news stories, editorials, and even full-fledged features and special reports. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
That's why there are several ways that you can communicate with our editorial staff. You can send us a letter; the address is on the bottom of our last "Briefing Room" letters page. Better yet, you can e-mail me directly at email@example.com or leave a letter to the editor on our Web forums at policemag.com. I urge you to drop us a line and tell us how we're doing, what you want to see in the magazine, and just what's on your mind.
In the coming months, we will be taking some steps to improve both Police and our Website. Some of these changes have begun, some are in the works, and some are at this point just scribbles on a legal pad in a desk drawer somewhere.
Two of our best new ideas are in this issue. This is our third installment of "Shots Fired," and if the feedback that we have received on this new section is accurate, then it is quickly becoming one of our most popular departments. What excites us most about "Shots Fired" is that it is our first experiment with truly Web interactive content. Each "Shots Fired" story includes a set of questions that you can respond to on our Web forums.
And there's another interactive aspect that I would like to add to "Shots Fired." If you know of an officer-involved shooting that you would like to see covered in "Shots Fired," let me know, and it will be considered. Of course, whether an incident is suitable for "Shots Fired" depends on a number of variables, not the least of which is the willingness of the involved officer(s) to talk about the experience.
The other new or newish feature that you will notice in this issue is a revival of our once popular "A Closer Look." This short profile of a law enforcement agency or unit has been reborn in a format that we believe you will enjoy. Let us know if you do.
Finally, we'd like to enlist your aid in improving our "The Beat" section. If you have experienced something funny on the job or have a poignant tale of police work, then write it up and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should read "The Beat." If your article is published, you will receive a check for $75. All "The Beat" articles must be at least 650 words and no more than 720 words. Sorry, but that's the limit of a single page in this magazine.
Thank you for all of your help in making POLICE the most widely read law enforcement magazine in North America.