For more public engagement, Oxford Police Division turns to humor

Posted at 5:03 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-10 18:16:05-04

OXFORD, Ohio -- Residents and students busted for bad behavior in this college town now have more to worry about than just the legal woes.

They might face the Monday morning wit of Lt. Lara Fening.

Fening posts the Oxford Police Division's weekend crime report on Facebook. But her take is a little less straightforward than you might have seen before.

Take some of her recent work:

"New meaning to #FreakyFast: Officers observed a male pick up and slam another male to the ground. The suspect gave chase as soon as officers approached him. An employee from Jimmy John’s chased and assisted OPD in catching the suspect."

"A DJ hired for a house party received a citation for 'best in noise' for the night. Here's to hoping he made more than $185.00 that night as that is the fine for his citation."

"A 'flashmob' struck at High and Poplar Streets Thursday night. Although we appreciate that they tried to stay in timing with the traffic lights, we would ask for future dances not occur in the street, as it bears potential safety hazards to the participants."

"I don't know which ones are funny and which ones are not," Fening said.

The department's Facebook Page is getting 100 new "likes" every week, she said. While the jokes are fun, Fening said the real payoff comes from the public's engagement.

"We want the subscribers, because when we really need the public -- when we have, for instance, a missing toddler or a missing Alzheimer's patient -- we want to be able to get that information out to them and as many people as we can, because they're going to be our eyes and ears," Fening said.

State transportation officials in Ohio and Kentucky also take a clever approach to messaging: Highway signs implore drivers to not "barrel through work zones" and share the road because "bikers' lives ride on it."

“We are throwing everything we have at this problem," Dr. Noelle Hunter, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, previously told "This is one more opportunity to encourage drivers exactly where we need them to be -- in their vehicles. We are encouraging better decisions when behind the wheel."

To help boost her department's engagement with the community, Fening said she's just getting started.

"So many of these events and circumstances, you just can't make it up," she said.