BENICIA (KPIX 5) — The Benicia Police Department is apologizing for a poem that was posted on its Facebook page.
Some say it’s not the way police should be using social media.
Last Friday night, police captured a burglary suspect inside a Rite Aid drug store in Benicia and decided to post information about the crime on its Facebook page. That’s when someone decided to get a little creative.
The report was written in the poetic form of “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and identified the alleged “criminal” as 39-year-old Brian Dodson.
It reported that his theft of ice cream “landed him in the slammer” after a “one-way sleigh ride” to jail.
The whole thing bothers Vallejo resident Jacqueline Smith.
“Why would you want to make light of it?” Smith asked.
She’s not alone.
More than 250 people have signed an online petition demanding the Benicia Police Department stop naming and publicly shaming people arrested for crimes.
Even those who don’t have sympathy for the burglary suspect think the department should have been more professional in its approach.
Benicia resident Marty Duvall said, “…calling him by name and making it so personal, I think, is pushing it a little bit.”
Bencia resident Tim Bik said, “Looks like the police don’t have a whole lot to do if they have enough time on their hands to write poetry for minor crimes.”
The poem has been removed and replaced with a straight report of the incident. The police chief posted an apology to anyone offended.
But not everyone was offended and lots of comments support the department and say the suspect had it coming.
Everyone appreciates that police keep us safe, but some are questioning whether it’s also their job to keep us amused.
In Benicia, the author of the petition is asking signers to express their concerns at a city council meeting on January 16.