The Edmonton Police Service said it would review its social media practices and accounts after a Facebook post drew a lot of negative attention in December.
During Thursday’s Police Commission meeting, Chief Dale McPhee answered questions about a controversial post on the Edmonton Police Canine Unit’s Facebook page from December.
A now-deleted post details the arrest of a naked man who broke into Home Depot on Christmas Eve and was caught by a police service dog. The post was widely criticized for being insensitive.
“It does not reflect the values of EPS,” McAfee said.
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However, the police chief defended the use of a police dog to nab the suspect.
“It was a commercial break and the admission of a serious violent offender on meth. Like all other canine engagements, that part will be reviewed,” he explained.
However, he said that the post is not acceptable.
“It didn’t need to be posted the way it was posted,” he said.
“He was not a canine handler. He was someone different and that person has been talked to about his behavior in relation to the posting and I think we got a good result on that and we consider it closed.
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During Thursday’s meeting, EPS’ communications chief said it was conducting a “full review” of its social media accounts.
“We are also looking at how many accounts we have. Do we have the right accounts? We are looking at quality over quantity, making sure they follow our social media policy, that they have the right training,” said Michael James.
This was not the first time that a social media post on EPS channels has received backlash.
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In August, a video on the eps community engagement TikTok created an uproar.
It featured an officer impersonating Stone Cold Steve Austin – a professional wrestler known for drinking beer.
In the video, the officer caught him before driving what was later clarified to be water.
The video read: “When you get a message from your wife that a guy is at home to take your daughter on a date”.
“It doesn’t look like they have a strong social media plan in place,” said social media strategist Brittany Le Blanc.
He said the EPS online policies should have been reviewed sometime back and suggested that the force focuses on being informative rather than trendy.
“I don’t think it’s just one person to blame,” Le Blanc said.
“I don’t think it just comes down to communication. I think it’s a problem with the culture within the EPS as a whole.”
It was suggested Thursday that social media posts on Edmonton police accounts should go through a vetting process – a practice EPS considers not mandatory.
Le Blanc said that should be rule number one.
“I think you want that cool second opinion that might say maybe we don’t post it, maybe we don’t write stuff like that,” Le Blanc said.
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