Texas Police Department Facebook page that was shut down magically reappears after story goes viral

TERRELL, TX – Monday morning, Law Enforcement Today told you about an official Facebook account for the Terrell Police Department (TPD) being suspended and unpublished for reasons unknown.

Monday afternoon, hours after the article was posted and thousands of people commented, shared, and “liked” social media, TPD’s page was suddenly republished.

Nate Hauger, President of the Terrell Police Officers Association, told Law Enforcement Today that the page was republished without any word from anyone at Facebook, despite Captain Sansom, who is in charge of the department’s page, having reached out several times for over a week since it was suspended.

Even after Captain Sansom finally found a person to contact (because he happened to know somebody who could connect him, mind you, not because Facebook was any help to him), there was no explanation offered as to why the page was removed.

But the important thing, Captain Sansom told me, is that the page is reinstated so the over 8,000 followers can continue getting information and public safety announcements from the department’s Facebook page once again.

Here’s the original article posted Monday morning on the issue.

Last week, Facebook declared that an official Police Department page somehow violated its terms, and has since suspended and unpublished the account.

The union’s Facebook page, Terrell Police Officers Association(TPOA), notified the public of the action taken by the social media platform to suspend the Terrell Police Department’s page.

“It looks like the recent activity on your Page doesn’t follow the Facebook Page Policies regarding impersonation and pretending to be an individual or business.”

Facebook continued by telling the department to visit the help center to dispute the action, but then it essentially tells them their request “may not” be responded to because they have fewer workers (thanks to COVID).

So what started this suspension in the first place?

Due to Facebook’s lack of response, we may never know.

According to a post by Captain A.D. Sansom on the TPOA Facebook page on October 7:

“I have been the PIO for the Terrell Police Department since 2007- my duties were expanded on or about 2010 and then I become the Social Media Manager as well.
“Today I was completely shocked when I received a notification from Facebook stating our official Police Department Facebook page Terrell Police Department had been unpublished, stating we have violated community standards- so… as of today 8100 followers are being denied content from our agency entirely!

“I have made numerous attempts to resolve this matter and Facebook is completely unresponsive.

“Our last two posts were ones of gratitude to a local business (sic) for a donation made to our agency and the day before an image of support for breast cancer awareness month, displaying our pink patch!

“SOMEHOW THAT IS OFFENSIVE?”That’s 8,100 people who may depend on that page to get the information for their police department: press releases, events, public safety announcements, etc. And now they’re denied that information because Facebook decided that something a police department put up was “offensive.”

Law Enforcement Today was able to speak with Captain Sansom as well as the TPOA President, Nate Hauger.
Captain Sansom said:

“If I had an idea what the trigger was, maybe it was a typo that came across wrong in the algorithm that would be one thing. But I haven’t even gotten to talk to a person, no one would reply. We were about to give up after a week of no response.

“I happened to talk to someone who knows someone and now we are connected with a ‘Facebook specialist’ that’s supposed to be walking us through an appeals process.”

Captain Sansom elaborated on the two most recent posts. One was thanking Walmart for a donation of food, and one was showing their support for “Pink Out,” where they display a pink badge meant to support breast cancer awareness in October.

The Captain told me:

“I was told that it could have gone back years, based on the algorithms. We posted a guide for people that says what you can and can’t post, so if there’s profanity or racial slurs by commenters then we block them.

“We’ve never had any trouble since around 2010 when I created it, so who knows what the culprit is.

“We interact with our community on Facebook. We don’t have a huge following but it’s popular with the ones with those that do-follow.”

As of this writing, there has been no development into the reasoning for the suspension, and the page has not been reactivated.

The TPOA said on October 9:

“The Terrell Police Department has still received no explanation or even a response from Facebook regarding the official police department page.
“Please continue to like and share our page as we will post any information regarding public safety or press releases.”
Nate Hauger told LET in an email Monday morning:
“We were surprised to learn that Facebook had removed the Terrell Police Department page for ‘offensive content.’  The administration of that page was maintained to the highest levels of professionalism, and nothing offensive or even questionable was posted or allowed to remain in the comments. 

“The worst part of the situation is now, a week later, Facebook has not given any specific information regarding why the page was unpublished or even responded to requests for information. 
“The page was used by the police department to communicate public safety information, press releases, recruiting, and to foster community interaction. 
“In the meantime, our association is using our Facebook page to help the department get any critical information to the public.”
There were several supportive comments on the TPOA posting, but the one that stood out the most was from a user named Jim White White, who said:
“Yes, Facebook has become so political in a bad way. You guys just keep doing what you do. We are all here for you and always have your six.”
Texas Police Department Facebook page that was shut down magically reappears after story goes viral

For now, the TPOA is hoping that people will get notified about the department’s page and follow the union page for important public information and press releases.