Bangor Police Facebook

BANGOR — Bangor Police Department Sgt. Tim Cotton has put the department on the map for its humor and goodwill.

Cotton is the humorous writer for the BPD’s Facebook page. He started posting in 2014, later introducing the “Duck of Justice” mascot.

Media outlets from all over have since written about his funny FB posts, which have attracted thousands of followers. The page’s “likes” outnumber the population of Bangor.

This year Cotton has traveled to Florida and Tennessee to meet with police departments and talk about how Bangor police connect with the public through social media and on the job.

“We need to be real and honest,” Cotton said in an email, answering questions from the Sun Journal. “I hate the terminology that we need to show we are human. That should be assumed.” Police officers should include, not seclude, themselves in the community, he said.

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“Community policing doesn’t need to be a catch phrase. It needs to be an action. We work hard at doing that here,” Cotton said. “Facebook has opened us up for the world to see.” But, it’s a precarious position. “We need to be on guard all the time to avoid disappointing citizens.”

A successful police department needs community backing; trust and goodwill must run both ways. Cotton said citizens need to realize police are tasked with keeping order. Mistakes will be made, but when mistakes are made police should admit it, fix it and work to ensure it happens less often going forward, he said.

The BPD’s social media page promotes understanding by giving people insight into what police do, Cotton said.

“We had over 1,000 individuals stop by the police department last year just to visit, meet officers and talk about enjoying the page. And, meeting our mascot, the Bangor Police Department Duck of Justice.”

There are a lot of photos of visitors holding the duck — a taxidermied duck Cotton rescued from a trash bin that has gradually become the department’s mascot.

“If you can find another police department in New England that folks just stop by, not to complain or talk about an issue, but to visit, I will buy you dinner,” Cotton said. In typical fashion Cotton then noted he would make sure the dinner would be special — “maybe with extra pickles.”

Cotton emphasized that despite the humor and goodwill, a police department can’t just write funny posts without balancing that with professional officers doing the serious job they’re hired to do every day.

“Our officers buy into that,” Cotton said. “They know people are watching us because of our presence in social media. Being funny is one thing, being real is more important.”

Bangor Maine Police Department Facebook post from Aug 3, 2014, written by Sgt. Tim Cotton:

“This is Bangor Police Officer Steve Pelletier. Steve is a gentleman and one of the most inquisitive and friendly police officers I have ever met. Officer Pelletier “volunteered” to help me out when the crew from Downeast Magazine were here for a video shoot, about the duck, last week. I had Vinnie from the laundromat run up to Steve and force the duck into his hands. To accomplish this, I had Vinnie dress up like Wonder Woman (the television series version, as Vinnie is a tall brunette). This made Pelletier inquisitive and confused, causing him to stand still for the photo surprise. I think it came out great. … Steve always gets compliments from the people he deals with because he is so pleasant and helpful. True story. He also is meticulous about how clean his cruiser is and that makes the chief very happy. Thanks for the help Steve!


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