Mt.Vernon Police Department addresses hoax Facebook post - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mt.Vernon Police Department addresses hoax Facebook post

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MT. VERNON -- The Mt.Vernon Police Department is warning residents of a hoax Facebook post, which alleges a police officer sent an inappropriate message to a local resident. 

Assistant Police Chief Trent Page explains the Facebook user posted a picture of an alleged police officer along with a supposed message that he sent to the suspect. "We received notification yesterday from people in the public about a post that seemed to allege a Mt.Vernon Police Officer had sent a Facebook message from a phone that possibly a suspect had fled from that officer."

The post, published Sunday, also alleges the officer used expletive language toward the owner of the phone.

Page says this caught the attention of many residents.

"The text that was sent was inappropriate for a police officer and that obviously raised concerns with members of the public," said Page.

But Page says the officer does not work for the department.

"The officer in the picture is not a Mt. Vernon Police officer, and never has been a Mt.Vernon Police officer. We believe that the post is actually a hoax," he said. 

This isn't the first time a post has spread misinformation. But after receiving several messages from locals, the department published its own Facebook post to clear up any confusion.

"When we see something like this where it impacts a few people within the public, if necessary, we will go ahead and make it public that it's not our agency or try to clarify," added Page.

Page says there are currently no charges against the Facebook user over the post due to the action being online.

"There offenses for making a false police report, but I don't believe this would met the guidelines," he said. 

Authorities say if residents ever question the authenticity of a social media post about an officer, they should contact the police department either on Facebook or its non-emergency line

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