You have likely witnessed a few blunders in your professional life caused by poor communication. While these situations certainly range in severity, some seem like complete disasters. Have you ever wondered what would be the worst case scenario? Last summer, a murder suspect was mistakenly released from Ohio custody twice due to a lack of communication.
Richard Beasley was being held in a county jail in Akron, Ohio, on drug charges, when he was identified as a suspect in one of the latest Craigslist killings. He has since been charged with killing three men and wounding a fourth between August and November last year in Noble County, Texas. Beasley’s warrant from Texas contained a notation that he could not be released on bond. Texas then informed Ohio that it would not extradite Beasley until the local charges were disposed. This created confusion for the Ohio sheriff, who resolved Beasley’s drug charges and released him.
In a state prisons report examining the situation, Richland County Judge James DeWeese recommended that the two states talk to each other, and declared that a simple phone call could have clarified everything. He also pointed out the officers’ “ignorance of the law” in Beasley’s case.
While this example is extreme, it shows how important effective communication is to running a smooth operation. It may seem obvious, but too many people are afraid or unwilling to talk about the finer details involved in a given task. When working with other people, make sure to communicate regularly with everyone involved about every important detail, and even some unimportant ones. Also remember to keep yourself informed on any rules governing your work, so you are not accused of ignorance like the officers in Beasley’s case. The Associated Press’ piece on Beasley’s transfer confusion can be found here.