Deputy’s Facebook post causes online stirPublished 8:57am Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When Crenshaw County Deputy Jeremy Walker made a Facebook post after a roadblock, he said he didn’t expect it to become an online sensation, but it wasn’t long before that happened.
In the status, Walker blasted people “who couldn’t wait to get on Facebook to announce there were State Troopers on the Glenwood Road…”
“It should be a crime to post a warning about a roadblock,” he posted. “Maybe the drunks that got the message won’t wreck and cause an innocent person to be killed tonight.”
Not long after the post was made, it became an example of the power of social media.
The post was shared by more than 100 people, and by Wednesday, it had garnered more than 10,700 “likes” from other users on Facebook.
It also caught the attention of statewide news media, including al.com, which is a website run by The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and Huntsville Times.
“They called me on the phone, and they didn’t tell me they were going to do a story,” Walker said.
The story on al.com sparked a number of spinoff stories and dialogue about the role of social media and whether or not it’s appropriate to share the location of roadblocks.
An unofficial poll on the site showed a nearly even split of 52 percent to 48 percent among 3,000 respondents, with the plurality advocating that people keep quiet about roadblock locations.
The Alabama State Troopers and the Department of Public Safety also weighed in, with Sgt. Steve Jarrett telling al.com that roadblocks and checkpoints are some of the state’s best tools for traffic enforcement.
“Safety checkpoints have proven to be highly effective at promoting traffic safety and public welfare,” Jarrett said. “Safety checkpoints serve as a deterrent to potential traffic violators.”
While the debate continues statewide, Walker said that he has talked with Sheriff Charles West, and he’s taken the post down.
“The Sheriff has made contact with me, and he’s been telling me that people have contacted him about it, and I’m taking it down,” he said.
Walker also said that while the phrasing of his post may have been a little harsh, his point still stands.
“I’m taking it down just to keep from any further controversy, and I won’t be posting my opinions about stuff like that anymore on Facebook,” he said.