The New Bedford Police Department failed to warn most area communities that an armed man was on the loose who could pose a danger to their police officers.

A New Bedford police officer's apartment was riddled with gunfire over a week ago. Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro first claimed that a BOLO (be on the lookout) had been broadcast on the local police radio. He eventually conceded that it had not. As a result, most New Bedford Police officers were not immediately informed. The customary regionwide BOLO that would follow a local broadcast was not issued either.

This is important because most police officers throughout the region had no idea that an armed man who had already targeted a police officer was on the lose. If this assailant had lashed out at police once, it is reasonable to assume he might do so again.

Cordeiro told me some police agencies were contacted but refuses to tell me which ones. Since the suspect's getaway car was registered to a Fall River resident and recovered on a Fall River street, one can assume that the Fall River Police Department was alerted. The Massachusetts State Police probably got a heads up, too.

But what about police officers in Dartmouth and Westport? If the suspect drove to Fall River, he most likely passed through those communities as well. There is no saying where the suspect went before dumping the car in Fall River. I shudder to think what might have happened if police from another community had attempted to stop this car for a traffic violation, unaware of who might have been operating the vehicle.

I asked Cordeiro to provide a list of police departments made aware of the incident after it occurred and whether they had received a BOLO message of any sort. I have not received a reply.

The City of New Bedford should explain why officer safety regionwide was compromised on January 29 and commit to ensuring it doesn't happen again.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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