On Aug. 9, the Holmen Police Department of Wisconsin wrote on its Facebook page: “Posts made to this page that contain profanity will be deleted. We promote this page as family friendly. Thank you.” Another Facebook user replied that police are generally, not family friendly, Fox Carolina reported.
Instead of ignoring the comment, the police department posted a long and thoughtful response:
"Recently we posted a request that comments on our Facebook page not contain profanity as we try to promote our page as 'family friendly.'
"Our post received a comment 'Yet police aren't typically family friendly.'
"While our department usually refrains from online squabbles with posters, that comment hit home and deserves a response.
"I ask myself why the Holmen Police Department aren’t considered family friendly, but I realize it’s possibly a general perception of police altogether? Either way…
"I can understand why you don’t see us as family friendly when someone in a family calls 911 because of a domestic disturbance and someone goes to jail. Maybe that caller was the child watching their parent beaten for the last time and was terrified for that parent’s life. Maybe that caller was the spouse who was scared if they didn’t call that they wouldn’t wake up in the morning. Maybe an outcome of that call was that children had to be removed out of the house, not because it’s something we enjoy doing, but we felt it was our only option at that point because children cannot protect themselves and we had no other alternative. Every officer I know tries everything they can do to NOT arrest a parent in front of their children, because no matter how reprehensible that parents’ actions were they still have children who look at them through loving eyes that only an innocent child has.
"I suppose we’re not family friendly when we arrest someone and remove their children when they’re cooking meth in their home or dealing drugs out of their home while their children play in the next room. I wonder how family friendly the 'guests' are that come into that household to buy the drugs or family focused their parents are when they’re passed out, strung out or paranoid from their drug binges.
"The police aren’t family friendly when they have to arrest a parent or other caregiver for abusing a child. At that point it isn’t our job to worry about what the public will think or if the children will hate us because we have to protect the children when those that brought them into this world can’t or aren’t doing their jobs.
"We aren’t family friendly when we execute a search warrant on a house where we know someone is possessing child pornography or let’s call it what it really is, children being recorded for gratification while they’re abused, because we need to find out if that suspect is hurting any children in our community.
"When we stop someone for speeding or an equipment violation and your children are in the car maybe that 'not family friendly' ticket or warning will make you rethink your driving behavior the next time you’re on the road so we don’t see you in a crash with your children in an ambulance or worse.
"We try to be compassionate and family friendly as best we can when have to knock on your door to tell you that your loved one has died and try to help you through those first few moments of horrendous grief. It is one of the worst things we have to do as law enforcement officers.
"When you call 911 because someone in your family is hurt it is the police who are usually there first trying to calm you and help you. We help call a relative, secure your house or do whatever we can so you can concentrate on your loved one.
"If someone is threatening you or your family you call us to protect you and your loved ones. How more family friendly do you expect us to be?
"We buy hundreds of pieces of candy for Halloween night handing out to as many kids as we can. In fact we usually have to go hide out once we run out because our community knows our tradition and we are family friendly, well at least on Halloween we are.
"Every officer has sacrificed Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays and countless other important family events of our own so that we are on duty in case YOU need us to NOT be family friendly on a holiday.
"We’ve stopped at daycares for visits, given presentations at schools, given tours of our squads and PD, handed out countless stickers in an effort for children to see that we are family friendly and they should know that we are here to protect them and NOT to fear us. It’s sad your children are probably among the ones that fear us, instead of knowing we’re here to help them. We have people threaten their children in restaurants where we’re eating saying we’ll take them away if they don’t behave. I personally will call you out on that if you say that and I hear it. Don’t make your children afraid of us, who will be at their door when they call 911 for something and need help? Not you, us.
"Most of us have children of our own who we kiss goodbye each day to wear a badge and be a part of a profession that has become so dangerous and hated in the last few years that we wonder why we choose to make that sacrifice for your families, especially since we’re NOT family friendly.
"We’ve seen things, horrible things that the general public can’t even begin to wrap their minds around … and we see the outcome of situations that are NOT family friendly. So we’re sorry if your perception of us isn’t that we’re not family friendly, but in my eyes we do a job that is very family friendly and our officers’ care about the community that they serve, especially the children and families.
"I have a simple fix to your perception of how we’re NOT family friendly ... how about people stop doing things that put us, the police, in situations that aren’t family friendly?"
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