BANGOR, Maine — Some 50 people who have made rude, crude or obnoxious comments on the Bangor Police Department’s Facebook page have been banned from posting, and a new policy was put into effect Tuesday to permanently ban others who follow suit.
“Beginning immediately, anyone who posts a comment that we deem to be inappropriate, will be permanently banned from the Bangor Police Facebook site,” Interim Police Chief Peter Arno posted to the department’s Facebook site Tuesday.
“It seems that there are a handful of people who use our site as an opportunity to cuss, ridicule, mock and antagonize other individuals who post, or the subject(s) of the story itself,” the interim chief said in his post. “Our goal is not to provide a public forum for this type of behavior.”
Arno posted the message early Tuesday and by 4 p.m., 369 people had “liked” the post and another 29 had posted comments, most saying “thank you.”
The Bangor police Facebook page was created in December 2009 and has been a valuable tool to inform residents about what is going on in the city and also as a source of evidence or information about possible suspects, Sgt. Paul Edwards said.
“The banned comments included swearing, name calling, and were “just vulgar and and crude,” Edwards said.
“We’re trying to keep it civil and informative not hurtful and argumentative.” the sergeant said.
There are several filters on the site to flag profanity and other inappropriate comments, Edwards said.
“We do our best to monitor the comments which are posted by individuals and delete those which may be considered offensive and/or derogatory in nature, but needless to say, we cannot monitor this 24/7,” Arno said in his post.
The department recently was contacted by a woman who was hurt when she read what people were saying about her brother, who had been arrested, which spurred police officials to consider the new policy, Edwards said.
“It still works great,” he said of Facebook. “We still love the tool, but whenever you have a comment section, it seems people abuse it.”
None of the 50 or so people who were kicked off the site before the new policy was put into place Tuesday has been reinstated, Edwards said.
“Once you’re out — you’re done,” the sergeant said.