PLAINFIELD, CT – The Plainfield police commission voted unanimously on Thursday night to deactivate the department’s Facebook page.
It comes after Chief Robert J. Hoffman used the work “jerks” in a controversial survey that was posted on the page recently.
Part of the survey, which has since been removed from the site, read:
“Don’t mention persons by name, and limit your comments to the service and activities of the department. It would be of no use to tell us that ‘Officer So and So is a jerk’ without telling us why he is a jerk, and chances are we knew that anyway!”
“The police commission felt there was no need to use Facebook as a tool in law enforcement,” police commission chairman Bill Holmes said.
Chief Hoffman, through Facebook, said the sentence that caused concern does not reflect his true feelings or beliefs and he will be meeting “face to face” with every member of the department.
“I have the utmost respect and affection for every member of the department and know how dedicated they are and how hard they work. The thought that my words would cause them any pain is devastating to me. We have all worked too hard together to permit my communication failure to cloud our accomplishments or detract us from the mission,” Hoffman said. “Unfortunately I find that the older I get the less the filter works that weeds out stupid comments or ill chosen phrases. However I did say it and hereby unequivocally rescind it. As a communication tool(,) the last sentence to that letter was a failure. In fact it appears if there has been a jerk in any of this(,) it was I. I humbly apologize for any offense, it was unintended.”
Some residents are defending the chief and said you really would have to know him.
“What he is saying to the public is, if you think that one of our police officers is acting like a jerk, don’t just come up to us with that comment. Come up and explain to us why you think he is acting like a jerk,” Gilles Roberts, of Plainfield, said.