You’ve heard of the neighborhood crime watch? That’s where the citizens of a neighborhood keep their eyes open for crimes in progress and report them to the police. Well, the police department in the town of Evesham, New Jersey, has turned this idea on its head. They are instead informing the local citizenry of people who have been accused of crimes. They are doing it by posting names and mugshots and other photos of suspects on Facebook! And these aren’t just suspects who have been booked – they are even posting pictures taken before a suspect has even been arrested (let alone charged).
Last year Jennifer Reisinger of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was ordered to remove a link from her website to the Sheboygen police department. Reisinger, who runs Brat City Web Design, had linked to the Sheyboygen PD from her community spirit site, Sheboygen Spirit. Despite the fact that the link to the Sheboygan police department was among several other links to various Sheboygan public service sites, the Sheboygan city attorney demanded that the link to the police department be removed – and, the demand was made via a Cease and Desist letter. Then the Sheboygan police department started a criminal investigation into the link! All because, Jennifer Reisinger alleges, she supported an effort to recall Sheboygan Mayor Juan Perez.