A story yesterday in The Eagle-Tribune about Andover Police Officer Evan Robitaille was mistakenly published with a photograph of a different officer who had no connection to the story.
Robitaille is on paid administrative leave pending a clerk magistrate’s hearing next week on whether he should be charged in connection with a drunk driving accident in March on Interstate 495.
In checking our archives, we found two photos showing officers identified as Robitaille and chose one to run with the story. The one we chose, however, was actually of North Andover Police Detective Robert Barter, though the caption identified him as Robitaille. Adding to the confusion was that both men received police awards in January, when the photos were shot, and are similar in appearance.
When we discovered the error hours after the story was posted online, we immediately removed the incorrect photo. We later added the correct photo and posted a correction prominently on our web page.
We also contacted Officer Barter and North Andover Police Chief Paul J. Gallagher, who had notified us of the error early yesterday, to apologize, to explain what happened and to tell them what we were doing to correct the error.
We also discussed what happened with all those involved and put in place some additional safeguards that we believe will help us avoid similar errors in the future.
— Al White, Editor