Minn. Police Chief Speaks Candidly on Facebook
A police chief in southern Minnesota is chatting up the community on Facebook.
Chief Lee Sjolander has been using the Kenyon Police Department's Facebook page to candidly give advice, challenge readers with trivia questions, and pass along public safety information.
Many police departments in Minnesota - and across the country - have Facebook pages. The pages are mostly used to alert the public of crimes affecting the area.
But unlike most police department pages, Sjolander speaks his mind in his posts.
Sjolander, who heads the department about an hour from the Twin Cities, began candidly talking to the Facebook community more than a year ago, he said. Now, hundreds of people follow his posts - with dozens commenting on them. Nearly 3,000 people have "liked" the department's page, too.
Sjolander's latest post gives advice for teens going to prom:
"Men, lets be the perfect gentlemen. Be on time, have some nice flowers, and say something like you look beautiful, or how pretty your date is, and you're very lucky to be attending prom with such a wonderful person. Stay away from words like "hot" "sexy" and I speak for all dads when I say if we ever hear anyone use the term 'do-able' in regards to our daughters, the date is over. Open doors for the ladies in your life if they like you doing that. I've done it for years and it's a sign of respect."
Sjolander goes onto to recommend that men shower before prom, wash their hands, brush their teeth and clean their ears. For ladies, he tells them that sometimes the amount of money they spend on dresses is "out of line." He recommends that ladies buy cheaper dresses and donate the extra money to a worthy charity or animal rescue.
He also reminds prom goers to be safe and wear their seatbelts.
"I'm trying to get people to ... not be so darn negative," Sjolander said.
Sjolander draws inspiration for his daily posts when drinking coffee in the morning, he said. His goal for writing them is to encourage people to be nicer to each other, and to change people's perceptions about police. So far, it's working, Sjolander said.
The public talks more and visits with his officers, he said.
So far, Sjolander said his posts haven't been controversial.
"People appreciate it," he said. "They might not agree with it, but I think they appreciate the candor."
Photo contributed by the Kenyon Police Department.