Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "public safety" ...

  • Money, Power and Transit

    This ongoing inewsource investigation into a public transit system that serves 12 million passengers a year by bus and rail exposed perils to public safety, mismanagement of millions of public dollars and perhaps most egregious: enduring bureaucratic arrogance in the face of public scrutiny. Over the course of a year, inewsource produced more than 30 stories, radio broadcasts, TV features, and interviews. We experimented with new levels of transparency in our reporting and storytelling. We spent thousands of dollars pursuing public information and battling regular retraction demands. The series drew from a multitude of inside sources, leaked documents, hard-fought public records, emails, and other materials to unearth the truth about what’s going wrong inside the San Diego’s North County Transit District. Our stories have drawn intense fire from the district’s legal department — all the while those responsible to the taxpayers and the transit riders have consistently refused to respond to interview requests or to answer specific written questions.
  • Gun permit loopholes

    Nobody Denied is an unprecedented review of how a change in Iowa law two years ago resulted in nearly 150,000 people obtaining permits to carry guns in public, including people who are blind or registered as sex offenders. The law change was prompted by the desire to standardize Iowa’s weapon permit system, which had been riddled with disparities between counties. But the quickly passed law also contains loopholes that had been previously ignored or overlooked. Noteworthy in this series is the massive number of public record requests the series required. This investigation involved two separate record requests to each of Iowa’s 99 counties in addition to many records requests of the state’s public safety department.
  • Explosion at West

    Tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a central Texas plant exploded last April with the force of a small earthquake. The blast came just two days after the Boston Marathon and, in the national media, was overshadowed by events in the Northeast. While not the result of a terrorist attack, the explosion in West, Texas, was far larger and deadlier, and raised more significant public safety issues. In a series of investigative reports over eight months, The Dallas Morning News revealed that ammonium nitrate remains virtually unregulated by federal and state governments, despite its well-known explosive potential. (Timothy McVeigh used it in 1995 to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building.) Efforts to strengthen oversight have been blocked by industry lobbyists and government gridlock, The News found, even as the Pentagon sought bans on ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In pro-business, anti-regulation Texas, the federal government’s lax oversight meant no oversight at all. West Fertilizer Co. – scene of the disaster – violated almost every safety best practice. No state agency was charged with preventing an ammonium nitrate blast. There was no public registry of companies that handled the compound, even though many facilities are near homes and schools. Texas prohibits most counties from having fire codes and does not require facilities like West to obtain liability insurance. Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians, who created this wide-open environment, washed their hands of the problem. They said West was a tragic accident that no amount of regulation could have prevented. The News’ findings, however, proved otherwise.
  • Coca-Cola vandal caught

    Sometimes the journalism gods drop a big scoop in your lap. That's what happened to me and the identity of an infamous vandal at American University. After months reporting on these cases of vandalism, one Public Safety official came forward and gave us all the information on the case. I knew it was my responsibility to follow-up, verify the information, and educate the campus community that the vandal had been caught.
  • Doctors Do Little?

    Months-long Better Government Association (BGA) investigation finds serious failings at the Cook County government health system, with doctors, nurses and other health-care workers failing to show up as scheduled, swipe in as required or work a full day – costing taxpayers big and potentially putting public safety at risk.
  • Money, Power and Transit

    This ongoing inewsource investigation into a public transit system that serves 12 million passengers a year by bus and rail exposed perils to public safety, mismanagement of millions of public dollars and perhaps most egregious: enduring bureaucratic arrogance in the face of public scrutiny. Over the course of a year, inewsource produced more than 30 stories, radio broadcasts, TV features, and interviews. We experimented with new levels of transparency in our reporting and storytelling. We spent thousands of dollars pursuing public information and battling regular retraction demands. The series drew from a multitude of inside sources, leaked documents, hard-fought public records, emails, and other materials to unearth the truth about what’s going wrong inside the San Diego’s North County Transit District. Our stories have drawn intense fire from the district’s legal department — all the while those responsible to the taxpayers and the transit riders have consistently refused to respond to interview requests or to answer specific written questions.
  • King County DUI suspects often not charged for months

    After a number of high-profile fatal crashes involving alcohol, the Times examined how the court system in King County takes much longer -- months in some cases -- just to charge offenders in drunk driving cases. Analyzing DUI charges throughout the state, we found that the local district court was an outlier in how long it took to file the case after an initial arrest. Allowing so much time between the arrest and the filing of charges can endanger public safety by keeping repeat offenders on the road.
  • WBEZ: The crisis hidden inside Illinois’ prisons

    This series of stories was supposed to focus on the cost, and the effects of overcrowding in Illinois prisons on inmates and public safety. However, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn forced us to focus much of our series on the fact that reporters were not being allowed into the prisons. Our requests early in 2012 to visit two minimum security prisons were denied by the Quinn administration, kicking off a very public battle between us (WBEZ) and the governor. After immense public pressure failed to move the governor we threatened to sue. The Illinois Department of Corrections finally agreed to have reporters come in to tour facilities but those tours are still quite restricted and the public battle for more access continues and litigation remains an option. While documenting that struggle, the stories also focus the state’s attention on corrections by talking with recently released inmates, advocates, attorneys, legislators, prison officials and employees about the current crisis of prison overcrowding in Illinois. Through their stories we tried to bring the public inside the locked facilities despite the governor’s insistence that we stay out.
  • Law and Disorder

    "Law and Disorder" is a two-part series on misconduct in the Edison Police Department. Day 1, "Law and Disorder," showed how taxpayers and civilians suffered the consequences of a bitter civil war within the department, responsible for public safety in New Jersey's fifth-largest community. Day 2, "Betraying the Badge," focused on the astonishing record of misconduct in the police department.
  • America's Great State Payroll Giveaway

    A state-employed psychiatrist in California made $822,000 by clocking in 17 hours every day last year, including Sundays and holidays. An employee cashed out with $609,000 for unused vacation when she retired, claiming she never took vacations in a 30-year career. A highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in salary, pension and leave payments. The chief money manager at a Texas pension fund got $1 million in salary and bonuses while posting investment returns that trailed those of peers who earned a quarter as much. Bloomberg News used freedom-of-information laws to obtain 1.4 million payroll records from the 12 largest states and show how taxpayers funded these out-of-control expenses and more, while at the same time states cut funding for universities, public safety, health care, schools and services aimed at the neediest residents.