HOPEDALE — The Hopedale Police Department has regained control of its Facebook page after an infuriating incident earlier this week.
An unknown person had somehow taken control of the department’s Facebook page late Tuesday night and posted a “hateful” message against LGBTQIA+ people, claiming an officer shot a transgender woman more than 40 times in a bathroom.
The post remained on the Facebook page for more than a day before it was removed Thursday.
“I want to extend my apologies to our community and Facebook followers who were affected by the offensive message that a ‘hacker’ posted on the Hopedale Police Department’s Facebook page,” Police Chief Mark Giovanella posted on the page Thursday afternoon. “The message posted attacked an indvidual’s political views; it was hateful speech toward the LGBTQIA+ community and an attack on the Hopedale police organization.”
‘Message was a hoax’:Hopedale police say their Facebook page was hacked
Giovanella said in his post that once the department discovered what had occurred, it began working to get the post down. The officer in charge of the Facebook page — the administrator — tried to delete the post but was locked out of the account.
“As the administrator worked diligently to gain control of the department’s page, we learned this was an outside attack and the attacker had removed HPD staff from the Facebook account,” Giovanella explained.
Giovanella said he wanted to assure the community that such a situation described in the fake post would not happen. He said all Hopedale officers are “highly trained,” and undergo annual de-escalation training, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion training.
“We will continue to investigate how the hacker took control of our Facebook page and what preventative measures will be needed in the future to secure our social media platforms,” the chief said.
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For up-to-date public safety news, follow him on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.