It's not easy being a balls-out daily newspaper reporter these days; newsrooms, once the Land of the Free-Swinging, are now the Home of the Safe. But Mark Puente, The Plain Dealer
's Lorain reporter, and John Caniglia, a courts reporter, somehow convinced their editors to take off the gloves when they went after the Lorain Police Department, arguably the nastiest batch of badges this side of Cop Land
. The two found that in the last six years, fully one-third of Lorain's officers had disciplinary records for everything from fighting in bars to stalking the local ladies. Puente even caught some old-school heat: Before the story came out, he says, police intimidated his family and let the air out of his tires.