SOUTH POINT, OH – In the midst of a string of property crimes in the village of South Point, Ohio, the mayor has grounded his police department from Facebook.
Nellie Brewster, 73, of South Point, wishes the police department’s Facebook page was still in use, because she would like to see if any tips have come in about her minivan was stolen out of her front yard the day before the mayor’s order.
“See where that truck’s at? That’s where my car was stolen last night,” says Brewster, pointing at a tree about 20 feet from her front porch.
Her granddaughter’s status was shared by the police, and seen by thousands.
“I was just hoping that we’d find our van,” says Erin Dillard. “and [to help] other people that lost their stuff too.”
Mayor Ron West ordered the police department to stop posting after some of their status updates became political.
In replies to the final update informing residents of the Facebook hiatus, residents posted more than 200 replies.
“That’s sad. We all like to know what’s going on in our city,” reads one post.
Another reads, “That’s how half the people in South Point find out about stuff. If people go to the council meeting, and voice their opinions on this, will it help to keep the page up?”
We went to Tuesday night’s meeting to find out.
Mayor West says he did this because a police officer, not the public, posted political and personal innuendos about police funding, and made mention of those who might not agree with him.
“They’re outside of my instructions right now,” says Mayor West. “I think it’s time to shut it down for a while.”
The mayor stresses he and the police chief want to expand the department, because local police are necessary and the officers deserve full-time pay and benefits, which none have except for the chief.
Things happen quickly in the information age, but not as quickly in South Point.
Some council members and the police chief believe the Facebook page should be active again soon, as soon as their posting policy is ironed out.
No one could give a time frame for when it could be up and running again.