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Can we see some ID please? CBS11 explains its decision to reveal the name of a seriously injured Fort Worth police officer while rival stations held back (updated)

Aftermath of FW squad car crash on WFAA8 and CBS11 websites.

Some readers have wondered about "proper procedure" during Thursday's late night news coverage of the high speed police chase that landed a Fort Worth officer in the hospital with serious head injuries.

One reader put it this way: "Channel 8 did not release the name of the officer . . . due to what they said was respect for the family's wishes. However, I flip over to Channel 11 and not only are they saying his name, they've got an on-camera interview with a friend. I do not know what the other channels did. I'm surprised you didn't blog about this contrast, since it's interesting to know if either Channel 8 got scooped or Channel 11 didn't respect the wishes of the family."

I didn't see the live coverage that night on any of the stations. But I've since looked at the available coverage on the WFAA8, CBS11, Fox4, NBC5 and CW33 websites. Only CBS11 identified the injured officer, Richard Lambing, on its Thursday, July 8th 10 p.m. newscast after withholding his name on its 5 and 6 p.m. editions.

WFAA8 at the same time was the most emphatic in telling viewers that his name would continue to be withheld. During his introduction to the station's 10 p.m. story by Chris Hawes, co-anchor John McCaa said, "This officer is a 15-year veteran. Respecting his family's wishes for privacy, we will not be telling you his name. But this is a remarkable man."

Among four news directors contacted for comment, only CBS11's Adrienne Roark and CW33's David Duitch were willing to explain the station's decision-making. WFAA8 news director Michael Valentine responded "Sorry, no comment" via email. Fox4 news director Maria Barrs has not answered an email requesting comment.

On CBS11's Thursday, 10 p.m. edition, co-anchor Karen Borta said that "sources close to the family" had identified the injured officer as 37-year-old Richard Lambing, whose name was officially released Friday morning by the Fort Worth police department. Reporter Carol Cavazos' subsequent report included an interview with neighbor and "family friend" Charley Parker, who said of Lambing, "He went to school with my boys, and in fact I went to his graduation ceremony from the police academy."

Roark, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said that CBS11 "had high level sources close to the family confirm his name and tell us it was OK to release it. So we did. If somebody had said to us, 'Don't release the name out of respect to the family,' we wouldn't have released the name."

Roark also said that the decision to identify the officer was first debated within the newsroom. "We did have a discussion. Absolutely."

Duitch said that "our reporter on the story (Giselle Phillips) was hearing a name but we did not feel we had enough sources to confirm it nor confirmation that the family would be okay with us reporting it. I have long felt it is better to be right than first, but preferably both."

These can be tough calls. But in this case, Lambing's family knew of his accident and his injuries well before CBS11 identified him. So there was no danger of the family first finding out through the media. The entire Fort Worth police department also apparently was informed of the officer's identity. So how long, in this particular case, should a family and the Fort Worth PD be able to, in a sense, embargo such information? Both Lambing and the police department are funded by taxpayers, after all.

Some rival stations can cry foul in private if they'd like. CBS11 at least is willing to defend its actions in a public forum..