Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Chief Still Tight-Lipped on Case Details; He Offers No Apologies for Keeping the Public and Media in the Dark

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Chief Still Tight-Lipped on Case Details; He Offers No Apologies for Keeping the Public and Media in the Dark

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

BRUNSWICK - Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said he isn't worried about being popular. And he brushes off criticism from the public that he's not releasing enough information about the weekend mass slaying of eight people.

Doering, 47, has fired off cryptic answers to reporters' questions about the massacre, including whether public safety is at risk from an at-large killer or killers and the identities of the victims.

He offered no apologies or excuses Sunday as he faced the news media with sweat dripping off his face in the choking humidity and broiling temperature outside the entrance to New Hope Mobile Home Park, where investigators searched for evidence.

Time and again, he has declined to identify the victims saying he won't name them until they are positively identified. (One victim's name was released Sunday because he had been positively identified by family.)

Doering repeated that mantra, changing his response from a terse "no comment" to "next question."

"I have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the investigation, and a responsibility to the families," Doering said. "...We want to be sure we do it right the first time. We only have one chance."

Some residents don't approve of the approach. They said as police chief, it is his responsibility to tell the public what is going on, especially if a killer is on the loose.

"We need to know, and it's not right that the police won't tell what is going on. It's terrible what happened to those people ... I don't want me or my kids to be next. They need to tell us," said Cheri Walker of Brunswick, who sat with 3- and 5-year-old daughters as they shared a Happy Meal at the McDonalds on Altama Avenue in Brunswick.

Though he's been in the newspaper and on television countless times over the past two days, few outside Glynn County are familiar with him.

Doering joined the police department 25 years ago and worked his way up through the ranks. Glynn County commissioners appointed him in December 2003 as chief of the department, which has 128 employees including 114 police officers.

He is respected by his peers and staff for being tenacious, a stickler for details during investigations, a no-nonsense boss focused on the law and proper procedures, and a chief who ranks public safety and victims' rights above television sound bites. …

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