OBPD praised for transparency 

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Chief Jon Searle, seen here getting sworn in at June select board meeting, is settling into his role and putting an emphasis on departmental transparency — Abigail Rosen

Those who follow the Oak Bluffs Police Department on their Facebook page may have noticed a new kind of post on Monday — a “weekend wrap-up” shedding light on the department’s doings from Friday to Sunday. Consisting of the number of people in protective custody, overall “incidents,” and number of arrests made over the weekend, with brief descriptions that exclude names of individuals, the notification was received favorably on social media. 

Oak Bluffs Police Chief Jon Searle told The Times in a phone call that the update is part of an ongoing effort to relay transparency, and to highlight the immense work done by the department’s officers. 

Stemming from the newly appointed chief emphasizing the importance of utilizing social media in the digital age, Sgt. Jeffrey LaBell, responsible for the department’s social media presence, is cited as the weekend wrap-up brainchild. 

“[The wrap-ups] are generalizations of the calls we’ve been handling,” Searle said, adding that the goal is not to call attention to any individual — names are omitted for privacy— but to enhance the public’s understanding of what goes on in their town, and their neighborhood. 

“You have to show the public what you do,” he said, noting that technology and social media are one of the six pillars of modern policing, along with building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; community policing and crime reduction; training and education, officer safety and wellness — as stated by the 2015 presidential report on policing.

Receiving more accolades than criticism on social media, the benefits of the new updates on the O.B. Police Department’s goings-on “far outweigh” the detriments, Searle said. And the public seems to agree. From praises of “bravo” to “Thank you OBPD for keeping our streets safe,” comments left on the department’s social media page exhibited local pride and gratitude for not only the new department chief, but all officers in its ranks. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I would expect nothing less from John and the rest energized group of officers… Congratulations to all !

  2. So glad we have Chief Searle. I know him from my years of working with Elders in the community. He’s a top notch person and officer.

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