News outlets throughout Connecticut covered the recent incident in Torrington in which a State Trooper shot and killed a city resident. Handling the media duties for the State Police, as always, was longtime spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance, someone whose face and voice are familiar to many of us by now.
Vance is before the state’s media more than any other spokesperson. Every time a few flakes start to fly in the winter months and television and radio stations seek someone in an official capacity to tell viewers/listeners to ‘stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary…use caution,’ etc., he takes the calls. Watch one of these ‘appearances’ – here.
And when state police are involved in a serious crime or motor vehicle
accident, Vance fields those calls too. I first became familiar with Vance when I was a newspaper reporter in the mid-1990s covering the Town of Prospect, which is served by a resident state trooper – at the time a post held by Vance. When I needed information from the men (and women) in blue, I’d be referred his way. He’d provide a prompt, thorough response to each inquiry.
What comes across in his statements to the media these days is a professional, direct handling of what the state police likely believe the media have a right to know. Yes, he’s the gentleman taking those questions about snowstorms, tropical storms and such but is far more often addressing extremely serious subjects that involve major crimes and deaths. Both his direct manner of speaking and the message delivered are always a tailor match for the task at hand.
Do reporters also ask questions Vance declines to answer? That’s difficult to gauge from a reader’s or viewer’s standpoint. One thing I can say is that I’ve seldom seen in coverage that he declined to provide details that were being sought.