Texas police department’s joking Facebook post about checking meth and heroin for Ebola leads …
A joking Facebook post warning heroin and meth users of Ebola in their supply netted a Texas police department one arrest and a social media outcry.
Police in Granite Shoals, about 55 miles northeast of Austin, shared a fake “BREAKING NEWS ALERT” picture Tuesday night claiming the drugs “could be contaminated with the life threatening disease Ebola.”
“If you have recently purchased meth or heroin in Central Texas, please take it to the local police or sheriff department so it can be screened with a special device,” said the post on the official page of the Granite Shoals Police Department. “DO NOT use it until it has been properly checked for possible Ebola contamination! Contact any Granite Shoals PD officer for testing.”
The department posted a comment two hours later making clear the post was a joke but asking users not to “spoil it for someone that would like us to look at their meth.” A post Friday morning shared the name and mugshot of a woman who was “the winner of the Facebook post challenge.”
Yet Granite Shoals police Sgt. Chris Decker, the department’s public information officer, posted a lengthy response Wednesday to people he said had claimed the department was “unprofessional” to make the joke in the first place.
“The current atmosphere in this country, at least according to the news media, is anti-police,” Decker wrote. “This career can eat your soul. Law enforcement continually ranks as the profession with the highest rate of suicide, divorce, and substance abuse.”
He continued, noting that police at times must confront “situations that can be more confusing and more dangerous” than soldiers in a war zone. He included a link to the national Law Enforcement Down Memorial website, which lists 26 police officer deaths so far in 2016.
Police said Chasity Eugina Hopson, 29, presented methamphetamine to be tested for Ebola in Granite Shoals, Tex., Thursday.
“Look for more posts to come that include suspects we are seeking information on, safety updates, interactions with citizens, In The Line of Duty Deaths, and things that make us laugh,” Decker wrote. “I hope this will allow you to see who we are, humans, just like you. We have families, friends, lives, laugh, cry, and bleed all the same.”
A Facebook user who said she is a retired deputy sheriff and her husband is a police officer got the joke yet didn’t find it funny, she said.
“But maybe that’s because that 1% of us that didn’t find it humorous are part of that club that no one wants or should belong to. The families of addicts,” she wrote.
“I have to believe that you think about that, that you view the people you protect and serve as fellow human beings with the same innate dignity as you,” another user wrote. “Yet, jokes like this don’t convey that.”
Others wrote to say they got laughs out of the posting.
“I find it amazing that people are surprised to see humor and such from cops,” another user said. “You people that seem to have all the answers to what cops do wrong, what they should or shouldn’t do, what they should be able to do differently, because it all seems so obvious to you. Shame on all of you.”
The Granite Shoals Police Department posted this joke Tuesday night.
The social media threads distracted from the actual arrest. Police said Chasity Hopson, 29, presented methamphetamine for an Ebola inspection Thursday morning.
Hopson, whose Burnet County jail record includes nine previous arrests on suspicion of crimes like public intoxication and driving with an invalid license, faces charges of possession of a controlled substance.
“Please continue to report any possibly tainted methamphetamine or other narcotics to the Granite Shoals Police Department. Public health and safety continue to remain our #1 priority. #notkidding,” the department said Thursday. The Facebook post had been shared over 1,400 times Monday afternoon, more than any of the others.
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