Joplin, MO – The Joplin Police Department has been ordered to cease all posting of “incident spotlights” which make criminals look bad by telling the public about their crimes.
The incident spotlights tell the public about incidents that the department has responded to, and may include mugshots.
KOAM reports that they have obtained e-mails which show disagreement between the police department and city manager about the social media posts.
Joplin Police Chief Matt Stewart and Captain Trevor Duncan fought to keep the posts going, but City Manager Sam Anselm shut them down.
According to KOAM, Anselm sent an e-mail to Chief Stewart which said, “Please tell Captain Duncan to stop posting the incident spotlights…until we have a chance to talk about them again. I have a hard time seeing how they benefit the community. We can find other ways to highlight the positive activities of the department without creating and inviting divisiveness online.”
Anselm questioned if any other cities use incident spotlights, and accused the department of using “click-bait” to get people to like the Facebook page.
Chief Stewart defended the practice, but Anselm was unconvinced.
Captain Duncan said that the posts let people know what is going on in their community, and what the officers are doing to combat crime.
Anselm sent KOAM a statement on change, saying, “I’ve encouraged the police department to come up with other ideas to share information that will serve the public in a way that doesn’t add to the negativity and divisiveness that currently exists in the online world.”
Do you think that posting law enforcement response to incidents should be prohibited? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.