Wednesday night I listened to a SWAT situation in the metro area.  It sounded like multiple agencies were participating in an operation to take a person in custody.  I had nothing confirmed, but  I shared what I heard on Twitter though.  I often share what I hear as a way to keep the community informed as to what’s happening and to explain the news process.

At first I didn’t hear the location of the SWAT incident and said so in my Tweets.  This lead to two people replying to me with what had been seen and what had been heard.  @Suavechef’s information seemed to put all the players I could hear on the scanner together.  I adjusted the scanners so I could focus more on the area he had heard about.  Soon I heard the exact location and it fit with @Suavechef’s Tweet.  Once again Twitter provided information and helped me cover news.

As I listened to snipers and K9 units being put into position, a request to cut the lights in a parking lot and evacuations of surrounding units, I chose not to share the location information.  I did choose to be honest about it though.  I made a full disclosure stating that I knew the location, but wasn’t going to share it.

I made the decision that the safety of the SWAT team, other emergency personnel and surrounding civilians were top priority, not my Twitter feed.  One could argue that I withheld information from someone who would need it for safety reasons.  My response is that anyone who could potetially be in harms way due to this SWAT situation was quietly evacuated and kept safe.  Tweeting the location before the incident is over could endanger the SWAT operation and the lives of many.  Who’s to say the person of interest isn’t on Twitter following me?  Who’s to say someone seeing my Tweets wouldn’t go to the scene so they could see the action from him/herself?

I won’t take a chance like that.

The next question is why did I even Tweet that I had that information when I wouldn't share it?  I had posted twice about trying to learn the location.  People helped me.  I felt being honest was better than lying by acting as if I still didn't know the location.  If anyone questioned me, I was prepared to explain my decision.  No one asked though.  I know that many people were following the incident through my Tweets, but no one questioned me. 

The SWAT situation ended without incident late into the night with two people arrested on warrants out of New Mexico on charges that included kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and resisting arrest.