Police chief's Facebook posts causing stir in E. Texas community

Published: May. 19, 2014 at 8:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2014 at 9:49 PM CDT
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EMORY, TX (KLTV) - Emory, a city in Raines County, is considering adding new social media policies to their rule book. This comes after the city's police chief took to Facebook to voice his opinion about the termination of the Rains County deputy who shot a dog while responding to a 911 call in April.

Former Rains County Deputy Jerrod Dooley was fired from his position and indicted on animal cruelty charges after shooting Candy, a blue heeler, while responding to a burglary call. Dooley claimed the dog was going to attack him and he had to shoot.

KLTV received an email from one concerned Emory resident who saw posts Emory Police Chief Bruce Feagin's personal Facebook page suggesting the police should no longer respond to calls.

On May 9, Feagin wrote, “Here’s a good idea, let’s order all police officers to wait until they have been shot, stabbed or bitten to defend themselves.”

The Facebook post set off a 77-comment conversation.

“Well, I mean it’s his opinion, but the voting public is out there listening to these comments, so, you know, it’s probably not the wisest thing to say,” Russ Malone, an Emory resident, said.

Today the Facebook page "Justice for Candy Middleton," run by the dog's owners, posted a status that said, "We the people don't feel like his public comments are becoming of a public servant."

At one point, Feagin responded to a commenter, saying, “let’s just not respond to calls. They can come to the office to make reports.”

"This sort of police mentality puts us all at risk," the resident wrote to KLTV.

Emory City Administrator Mike Dunn said he wouldn’t go on camera, but said police will continue to respond to calls as usual. He also said this will not affect Bruce Feagin’s position as police chief. He did mention he had spoken with Feagin Monday morning about his posts on his personal Facebook page, but they don’t currently have any policy on social media.

Dunn explained that what goes on the chief’s personal Facebook page is his own opinion and does not reflect the city. He said he will be looking into adding a new social media policy to the city's rule books.

“A lot of those comments are coming out of frustration,” Malone said. “Write something in the heat of the moment and somebody comments back and it just kind of escalates the emotions that are involved.”

As of news time Monday, the statuses and comments were still posted on the Police Chief’s page. The city maintains that the police department and the chief will continue to uphold their duties as officers and citizens should not be concerned.

Feagin has been in office since September 1999, according to his Facebook.

KLTV reached out to Feagin, but he hasn’t responded to the call.

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