Jeremy Walker, A Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Deputy, posted a harsh admonition on his personal Facebook account when he discovered people in the community using Facebook to warn others about a roadblock in the area.
Walker posted this status update on Sunday evening:
“For those of you who couldn’t wait to get on Facebook to announce that there were State Troopers on the Glenwood road, doing a road block… congrats!!! To me, you are no better than the drunks, crackheads, crack dealers, burglars, armed robbers etc. that are out there. If you would care to watch the news you would know that three armed robbers from Opp were apprehended during a license check in Covington county. Just think if they would have had some good outstanding facebookers like yourselves letting them know. They would still be at large and who knows, next time they may have shot someone. It should be a crime to post a warning about a road block. Maybe the drunks that got the message won’t wreck and cause an innocent person to be killed tonight.”
And then the firestorm ensued. Walker said he didn’t expect such a strong reaction on Facebook, and he made the following statement to AL.com, “The next thing I know, it went viral. I started a war and I didn’t mean to,” Walker told Al.com. “I just got so mad. I guess I should have kept it to myself, but I have lost family members and friends to drunk drivers.”
The post has garnered almost 11,000 likes, and there have been hundreds of comments on the issue. Some users claim that issuing such warnings are a matter of free speech, while others side with the officer’s opinion.
As a good example of why law enforcement agencies should have social media use policies in effect, Walker stated that his boss wasn’t aware of the Facebook brouhaha, and that he probably doesn’t need to know about it.
Walker says that he will remove the post if things get further out of hand, as he doesn’t want to jeopardize his job. He went on to say, “I just wanted to get the message out that people don’t realize what it does when you warn people about a roadblock on a public news feed. Not only the person trying to avoid an expired insurance ticket sees it, but somebody who just robbed a store or kidnapped a child may see it and they get away. Roadblocks are one of the best tools we have.”
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