Playful police post about pot has some smoking mad
ABSECON — It is not everyday that a police department's Facebook post gets taken down for violating the social media site's standards. But not everyone appreciated Absecon's jokes about confiscating marijuana.
Other Facebook pages, including Cop Block — which promotes the message "badges don't grant extra writes" — linked to stories about Absecon's post with a picture of a marijuana baggie labeled "Candy Kush."
"I guess writing 'oregano' across the bag would have been too obvious," the police department had written on its now-removed post. "If you were supposed to buy some Candy Kush this weekend, we have it here at the #Absecon PD. Just stop on down and ask."
The story linked by Cop Block, on pro-pot website Dankspace, was titled "South Jersey Cops Think Destroying Peoples Lives Over Cannabis Is Hilarious."
"South Jersey cops think they are being hilarious, in much the same way every bully ever thought they were when they taunt and instigate their victims," Cop Block wrote.
But the police department took the online kerfuffle in stride:
"Our good buddies at Cop Block were kind enough to pick up the story," it wrote in a follow-up post. "I guess they have a separate set of 'community standards.'"
And on the Cop Block page, the police left a comment — "Thanks for the plug Cop Block! Our page likes and subscribers have never been ... err... higher." — that, as of 7 p.m. Monday, had more than 260 likes.
Detective Mitch Levin said the department has taken a more lighthearted approach to social media, which he said has helped it to better connect with the community.
"It encourages people to come forward, interact with us, and exchange information," he said. As a result, the department's following on Facebook has grown, which Levin said has helped police in other parts of their job.
"The more eyes you can get it in front of the better," he said.
As for this most recent post, Levin said the department was surprised what a strong reaction it got.
"The intent of the post was to make light of a small amount of marijuana," he said. The bag came from a recent arrest, but Levin said it was not an arrest that was "even related to the marijuana at all."
When it comes to Cop Block, Levin said, "They're well-known to us just in terms of anti-police rhetoric and the very biased stories that they write. With the post being taken down by Facebook, but allowed to be on the Cop Blocks page, the irony of that struck me as kind of funny."
Jonathan Bronco wrote on the Cop Block page that he lives in Absecon, and that it's a "very conservative place that seems to have trouble adjusting to the times we live in."
"People there tend not to educate themselves past school and residents just tend to say the stupidest things," he wrote. "Will be leaving when the opportunity presents itself."
Bjorn Stornes wrote his "cousin was the subject of one of their stupid posts...my family bombarded them with calls till they took it down."
For for Brie Gee, the police post "hwas HILARIOUS and cleverly done. I also think weed should be legal."
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