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Associated Press
Police Chief David Oliver gets a group hug from a gaggle of boys Friday at Brimfest in Brimfield, Ohio.

Ohio festival expects chief’s online fans

– An eastern Ohio police chief who invited his nearly 85,000 Facebook followers to his small town’s community festival this weekend expects at least 1,000 from near and far to show up.

Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver started the department’s Facebook page more than three years ago in the hopes of reaching a few hundred people in his northeast Ohio community.

But his posts, which mix humor, blunt opinion, community engagement and rants against “mopes” – criminals and other ne’er-do-wells – draw an audience much larger than the 10,000 people the department serves east of Akron.

The department’s Facebook fans surpassed that of the Philadelphia police page this summer and trail only the much larger Boston and New York departments.

Andy Marek, who is making the seven-hour drive from Interlochen, Mich., said Oliver’s character and outsize following convinced him “there’s something to that town,” and he’s eager to see it. “You can’t have a police chief like him unless you’ve got some other quality people,” the 41-year-old sales associate said.

Mixed in with the festival’s fireworks, fair food, line dancing and parade this year will be the launch of Oliver’s book, “No Mopes Allowed.” Proceeds go to a nonprofit foundation he and his wife created to benefit local programs and sexually abused children.

The chief and his officers also have pitched “no mopes” gear made by a local shop to raise more than $10,000 for school security improvements.

Commenters occasionally gripe that Oliver uses work time inappropriately for Facebook or shouldn’t discuss suspects in a public forum. But he isn’t fazed.

“If you’re going to start social media, you have to be consistent,” he said. “And that’s all I want to do. ... Keep our efforts very clear and our mission very clear on doing the right thing and helping as many people as possible.”