Commentary, Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Opinion, Park Forest

Police Respond to Online Criticism

Officer rescues dog, pfpd, online criticism
In this body-cam photo, an officer works to rescue a dog left outside with no food or water, in “deplorable conditions,” according to Park Forest Police. The animal was taken unharmed to be cared for at a local animal hospital. (Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Park Forest Police defended their commitment “to protect all of our residents, including those who walk on all fours and beg at the dinner table,” after some made online criticisms that the women and men in blue were ignoring the plight of dogs left out in the cold.

It happens all too often: Someone goes off half-cocked on Facebook, making accusations, insinuations, claiming things that just aren’t so. Because of the nature of social media, such allegations begin to have a life of their own.

Police evidently decided enough was enough and took to Facebook to tout their record, clear up a specific case or two, and reassure residents that they care.

They care.

“How far will we go to rescue a neglected dog?” police asked in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “Have a look at this image from a sergeant’s body-worn camera. This pretty girl was none too anxious to receive help and charged at officers more times than they would’ve liked. But after a report of being abandoned, she was found to be without shelter, food or water, as well as in deplorable conditions. She was taken unharmed to be cared for at a local animal hospital.”

“Yesterday a sergeant on patrol saw a dog outside of a residence on Lester Road out in the cold and stopped to check on it,” the post continues. “It turns out the dog had just been let outside and everything was fine, but it demonstrates our concern and pro-active care for our 4-legged residents.”

Police then got specific regarding the online criticism.

“We are aware of several posts on community Facebook pages that allege that we have not fully investigated similar animal complaints. In one instance, despite the information provided by the person posting, we took significant steps, including ensuring that the dogs were seen by the Humane Society (who determined there were no signs of abuse/neglect) and requesting an investigation by Cook County Animal Control (who determined there were no conditions present to remove the dogs).

“While a citation was issued for one of the dogs running at large, the ultimate resolution was ensuring the disabled homeowner had the education and resources needed to rectify the conditions which prompted the call.”

Police then cite a recent statement on Facebook by someone who did not provide any type of reference as to where the dog they photographed might be.

“In a post we saw yesterday, the person posted a grainy photo of a dog outside and alleges we failed to properly handle the call, but did not provide a location. We are working to determine when and where this occurred, but it is not clear by the post, and we aren’t aware of a follow-up call voicing that complaint.

“While 1st amendment rights allow someone to post in such a way, may we suggest that if the concern is for the welfare of the animal, there is a better method in place? If one does not feel that the police department handled a matter properly, they may call the on-duty watch commander (708-748-4701) to voice their concerns. This allows us to address any possible shortcomings (we’re not infallible) or explain what actions were taken and why more can’t be done, or what actions may still be pending.”

The statement concludes talking about how much the officers appreciate all residents, including dogs, “We are a department full of animal lovers, from our newest police department member, K9 Tucker, to our own furry animal members at home. Our commitment is to protect all of our residents, including those who walk on all fours and beg at the dinner table.”