Sheriff responds to ‘major error’ printed in Elizabethtown newspaper

Hardin County Sheriff John Ward (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Hardin County Sheriff John Ward (Source: WAVE 3 News)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) – It’s a mistake that caused an uproar and cost two local paper staffers their job. The News-Enterprise is apologizing for what it calls a major error after printing a story which erroneously quoted the Hardin County sheriff as saying that most police “have a desire to shoot minorities.”

“I was appalled,” said Hardin County Sheriff John Ward.

A phone call from a friend at 5:30 in the morning Thursday informed Ward of the news he had to see to believe.

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“For those of you who do not know me, I would like to let you know that was not my comment,” said Ward.

He said his actual statement was “people go into law enforcement because they have a strong desire to serve.”

“In all actuality, the reporter reported what I said, but her story was changed by somebody playing that prank at the paper,” said Ward.

The newly elected sheriff went straight to Facebook to set the record straight.

“I’ve had many calls, emails, Facebook messages, supporting me from people that know I wouldn’t have made such a comment,” said Ward.

The News-Enterprise quickly admitted no such statement was ever made and Editor Ben Sheroan said an investigation was launched.

By Thursday evening Sheroan posted a column online stating the two people involved were fired.

His column went on to state the reporter whose name was on the story was not responsible for the error.

Sheroan answered the question from the public about proof reading.

Sheroan’s full apology states:

“No reasonable excuse exists for the horrible mistake that occurred Thursday in The News-Enterprise. By now, many of you have heard about it. 

The paper reported on the front page in a paraphrased statement:”Hardin County Sheriff John Ward said those who go into the law enforcement profession typically do it because they have a desire to shoot minorities.”

Sheriff Ward is not responsible for the statement. He said nothing of the sort.

A retraction and apology has been printed Friday on Page A1. As community members and neighbors, we feel it is important to repeat this apology again publicly to Sheriff John Ward, the entire law enforcement community and to you, our readers.

We share the outrage and disgust expressed by many of you.

Internally, the newspaper leadership spent yesterday researching this error, discovering the form it took and taking corrective action. As a result, the two people involved were fired.

Reporter Anna Taylor, whose name was on the story, is not responsible for this error.

Many of Thursday’s upset callers asked the same question:”Doesn’t anyone proof your newspaper?”

Well, surprisingly that’s where the error took place. A function and process designed to rid the news pages of error instead added a terrible one that altered the reporter’s original sentence. No reasonable excuse can exist.

It takes years to develop trust. It takes only seconds to destroy it.

We understand our credibility may be called into question but the sheriff should not be subjected to the same scrutiny.

Again, no excuse. The newspaper asks only for your understanding. Our staff will strive to recapture your respect and earn your faith anew.”

“I feel certain the citizens of Hardin County know me and know my reputation and wouldn’t think that I would say such a comment,” said Ward.

Ward said he does not plan to take any legal action against the newspaper.

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