Effective January 2nd, 2018, citizens who utilize Facebook and follow activity on the Hermiston Police Department page, will begin to see more information posted. As a slow roll out, we have been using social media (much like other police departments) in a more frequent manner over the last several months.
For the last 12 years, Jason Edmiston first as lieutenant and then now as the chief, has been the single source public information officer for our department. That single source will continue for all matters not posted on our social media page unless Chief Edmiston is the source of the information or it is a significant major crime.
After January 2nd, our three on-call supervisors which consist of Captain Scott Clark, Captain Travis Eynon and Lieutenant Randy Studebaker, will be responsible for one social media post per day for the particular week they are on-call. This means the citizens should see at least one post per day Monday through Friday from our department. The on-call supervisors will be encouraged to leave a quote so the media knows who the information is coming from should they want to follow up ask additional questions. Posts may consist of weather advisories, crime updates to include arrests, crime prevention tips, community happenings, etc. etc. Inasmuch as it can sometimes be fun to put out information that may make a person’s jaw drop, it is not the intent of this agency to ever embarrass anyone or engage in mean-spirited drama.
"This is something we have been talking about for several months as we know there are several departments who utilize social media to further advance accurate information known at the time to the communities they live in. We will respect constitutional rights and try to ensure we honor our criminal justice system where a person is innocent until proven guilty by using words such as ‘alleged’ or ‘suspected’ but our goal will be to remain factual. We will honor the First Amendment which gives a citizen the right to agree with something we have posted or disagree. We will likely not engage in discussions further than the original post unless the engagement is to clarify or assist. As an example, our post yesterday about the female who is suspected to have adversely impacted two of our local businesses was not put out to make fun of her or her situation. It was put out to warn other businesses. We did receive a message from a concerned citizen who did not like some of the comments that were being made by others about the female. There is case law already on the books that limits police departments and other public entities from picking and choosing who has the ability to comment on their site and how they choose to comment. We will honor that case law and hope the majority of comments will remain positive,” explains Chief Jason Edmiston.