Crisis Communication, Media Relations
In 2016, a Wisconsin municipality contacted Mueller Communications after a police officer was involved in a fatal shooting. With a charging decision pending from the District Attorney, and in anticipation of civil unrest and negative media coverage, a plan and strategy were needed.
Mueller Communications worked with the municipality to develop key messages intended to stress that this was an isolated incident and in no way indicative of a crime problem or a police problem.
There was a key need to establish a balance on a very sensitive and potentially racially charged topic and consider both law enforcement and citizens equally important stakeholders in this strategy. With this in mind, Mueller Communications worked with law enforcement and municipal officials and leaders to develop a strategy and a timeline for notifying key stakeholders, the community and the media about the charging decision, as well as any resulting protocol changes.
Mueller Communications provided advice and guidance, recommended strategy, stakeholder identification and engagement, drafted key messages, performed media monitoring and outreach services, and facilitated meetings between municipal elected officials and community leaders. These community leaders in turn served as key conduits from the community and municipal officials, keeping officials apprised of community sentiment.
Mueller Communications helped provide structure and predictability to what was an unknown and potentially volatile situation for a Wisconsin municipality. Ultimately, the district attorney’s findings were rolled out to the media and public in a way that instilled confidence in the local police department and highlighted this as an isolated incident. Efforts to protest have been diffused in a sensitive manner and the municipality has not suffered any ill-effects by being branded neither as unsafe nor as unfair.