Harlem Police Chief raising eyebrows with religious Facebook posts

HARLEM, Ga.--A lot of local police departments use social media to get the word out about crime sprees and suspects on the run, but one local chief is raising some eyebrows about the things he's posting on Facebook.

In Harlem, there's a church on nearly every corner, things move a little slower, and folks who live there compare it to Mayberry.

Linda Caldwell calls Harlem home, and says, "This town reminds me of when I was growing up in the 50's, The kids still ride their bikes to school."

But, the city is a little more modern than Mayberry in a couple of ways, for one, Chief Gary Jones with the Harlem Public Safety Department keeps the public informed of what's going on with a Facebook page. Along with updates about criminals, he'll occasionally make posts rooted in his Christian beliefs.

Chief Jones says, "I'm not ashamed of putting God into anything, and that's just my opinion that that's what's wrong with this country today."

His most recent post to the department's Facebook page encourages parents to teach their children about Jesus, and it also encourages discipline in the home.

This is the entire Facebook post:

"There are many kids that have been raised in Godly homes that have went astray at no fault of the parent(s); however, too many have went astray due to parents failing to discipline and get involved in their children's lives. The Police cannot raise your kids. Parents must become the disciplinarian and impose and enforce rules. The law does not prohibit a parent or guardian from spanking their children. The law says that parents may administer reasonable corporal punishment. No, it is not reasonable to strike a child with a bat or other object, but you can use a belt and strike their rear-ends. This may offend some parents that do not believe in spanking, and to you I say statistics are against you. Parents be nosy, check behind your kids and never assume that they will always be truthful. Doing these very things just may save the life of your child. Fathers you are the head of the home and God will hold you accountable. Get your children in church and teach them about the one and only true Saviour...Jesus Christ."

"That's just my belief. I was raised that way. Most of the folks in my generation were raised that way with discipline with a belt," Jones says.

Linda Caldwell has lived in Harlem since the 70's, and she runs the Laurel and Hardy Museum. She says she sees nothing wrong with the posts.

"Everything has gotten so PC, politically correct, and I just love that he's doing this, and I think basically everyone around this area does too," she says.

But, not everyone in the community is sure that the Harlem Public Safety Facebook page is the appropriate forum for that message.

Arianna Williams also lives in the Harlem area, and she says, "I just feel like it was overstepping boundaries as far as putting out a public message concerning the community."

But, the page has a lot of support from the community. Chief Jones' posts often get hundreds of likes, comments, and shares.

He says, "I will continue to post and most of the people in Harlem are of Christian belief, and I've gotten a lot more support than people that don't support it."

Chief jones says he plans to continue his posts, and he doesn't make any apologies for anything he's posted so far.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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