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It was amateur hour at Valley News Live when police called

by Mike McFeely

Valley News Live news director Ike Walker wanted a news camera present when Moorhead police interviewed reporter Mellaney Moore about a possible trespassing incident involving a Moorhead elementary school.

Apparently, Ike believes news media can negotiate terms of police investigations. And he's willing to use his reporters who are under police investigation as tools for news stories.

Never mind what is best for the reporter, it's all about what's best for ratings.

If there was any doubt that a so-called "investigative report" into school security was never about keeping children safe (as Walker has claimed) and only about getting VNL attention, a Moorhead police document should put that to rest.

Through open-records requests, KFGO News acquired e-mails, reports and depositions in the case of Moore, who was under investigation for trespassing into Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo elementary schools while doing a report that focused on school security. 

Among the many pages of documents is a report from Moorhead police detective Joel Voxland outlining his attempts to interview Moore about her alleged trespassing into Reinertson Elementary School.

After Voxland called Moore on Dec. 12, 2013, to request an interview about the incident, news director Walker called the detective. Walker asked the police officer "where this is going" and said "nobody did anything willingly."

Walker also strangely asked a police detective why Voxland was the first person from Moorhead to call Valley News Live back about the story. Voxland explained he represented the police department, not the school district.

In their next conversation, Walker said Moorhead police could interview Moore face-to-face but Voxland "needed to understand a KVLY news camera would be present during the interview." Voxland essentially told Walker to stuff it.

Later, Moore refused to give Moorhead police her apartment number, which they needed to complete paperwork.

It was amateur hour all the way around at Valley News Live once the cops called. From Walker quizzing the police on "where this is going" to the numerous "we'll call you backs" to the attempts at "nobody did anything maliciously." 

It seems fairly clear from reading this document and others that if Walker had simply cooperated in a professional manner over a possible misdemeanor, the situation could've been diffused and put to bed in about a day. 

Here is the portion of Voxland's report involving his attempts to interview Mellaney Moore:

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