-- The city of Bangor, Maine has a population of around 30,000 people. So why does the city’s police department have a Facebook page with twice as many followers? Sergeant Tim Cotton deserves a lot of the credit for that. He’s been in charge of the department’s funny Facebook page since mid-2014, and his playful posts have developed quite the following.
Sgt. Cotton told ABC News that the page is an easy way to engage with the community, and the tongue-in-cheek delivery makes your standard public information announcement a little more pleasurable to read. Especially in a climate where the narrative surrounding police work can grow negative.
“Unless you tell the good side, nobody’s gonna see it,” he said.
What Cotton does seems to work—the Bangor Police Department page has followers from all corners of the globe.
One man who commented on the page wrote that he is currently living in southern Ecuador but if he ever moved to America, Bangor would be his destination of choice solely because of the Bangor police department. “The bottom line is that humor breaks down barriers,” said Cotton. “It's an international language and it breaks down the barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them.’”
Not only are the comedic posts a great way for Bangor police to engage with the community, they’re a cheap and easy way to catch the city’s bad guys. But there’s a thin line between laughing about an odd situation and ostracizing a suspect, so Cotton tries to keep things light and poke fun at his fellow officers as much as he can.
The Facebook page even has its own mascot: a stuffed duck called “Duck of Justice.” A character who makes his way onto the page very often, and Cotton says the duck’s reputation precedes him. “A lady from Denmark was flying over Bangor to go to Boston and [she said] the pilot came on the intercom and said, ‘You’re flying over the city of Bangor, home to the famous Duck of Justice.’”