EXCLUSIVE: Sources say City of Newburgh manager 'covering up' crime to improve image
The City of Newburgh has a new directive that is allegedly purposely failing to reveal public information regarding crime in an effort to improve its image, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
News 12 has learned that City Manager Todd Venning is now requiring that he approve all press information prior to its release.
News 12 has inquired for several days about multiple reports of shootings, including one that allegedly resulted in the temporary closure of St. Luke's Hospital emergency room to handle the high volume of injured patients, and has not received information.
News 12 has also learned of other recent incidents including one that injured an officer and required stitches to his head, an armed convenience store robbery at knifepoint and a series of car break-ins.
News 12 received a response from the police department's public information officer Sgt. Jessica Brooks Tuesday that, "No press releases on these incidents will be released at this time."
One law enforcement source, who asked to remain confidential, said the department has four detectives assigned to the detective bureau and that "nothing is being done" with their criminal investigations.
"Clearly, there is an undercurrent not to release criminal activity that has happened. Solving crimes is not a priority, but rather the city's image," says the source.
City Fire Chief F.J. Spinelli told News 12 several weeks ago that he also was no longer allowed to directly provide information about fires, calls and fire-related incidents.
The mayor and Orange County district attorney have confirmed the new policy regarding the release of public information.
News 12 has a call out to the Newburgh city manager for comment but have not heard back.
The city's police department Facebook page has one post out of seventeen about an arrest since April 26.
The rest of the recent information shared is about foot and bike patrols, the Easter Bunny and various other non-crime related posts.