Facebook stops Illinois Chiefs from honoring Officer of the Year;

ILACP encourages supporters to sign petition to reverse decision

July 28, 2021


The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is flabbergasted that Facebook has blocked its attempt to promote its Officer of the Year, Patrolman Jeffrey Bieber of the East Peoria Police Department.

The Illinois Chiefs announced its selection of Officer Bieber last week and posted the announcement on Facebook. Thousands of people were engaging with the congratulatory post about this brave officer, and the Illinois Chiefs attempted to pay the small fee to Facebook to help more people see the post.

But Facebook rejected the ad, saying that the post violated Facebook’s advertising policy. “That seemed ridiculous to us,” said ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki. So our PR Committee chair, Deputy Chief Andy Johnson of the Hanover Park Police Department, politely appealed to Facebook and asked for a review of its decision.

Facebook promised a manual internal review, then decided again to reject the Illinois Chiefs’ ad, with this explanation:

“This ad content has been correctly disapproved for violation of Facebook Advertising Policies and Guidelines.  As per policy: Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation. Our policy for running ads related to politics requires you to get authorized first by confirming your identity and creating a disclaimer that lists who is paying for the ads.”

Not liking that explanation, Wojcicki and the ILACP Board of Officers decided to create a petition on change.org to seek the public’s assistance in overturning Facebook’s decision.

“The way we see it,” Wojcicki said, “is Facebook thinks it’s wrong to honor a brave police officer who suffered serious wounds while protecting his central Illinois city. How is that remotely political? Facebook must not realize that many police officers endure severe physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis. Our recognition of Officer Bieber is designed to honor an officer who made a great personal sacrifice and to help Americans understand and appreciate the sacrifices that many officers make. We’d like Facebook to understand that by hearing from supporters of this officer and the thousands of good officers in our ranks.”

The Illinois Chiefs now ask people to go to change.org to ask Facebook to reverse it disgraceful decision and to allow the Illinois Chiefs to boost its post about Officer Bieber.

The petition can be accessed here: http://chng.it/WSXSvSmXJt.

“Our press released mentioned no politicians and has nothing to do with any election or pending legislation,” Wojcicki added. “For Facebook to suggest that seems like a huge stretch and could be a signal that it wants to block good news about police. All we were doing is honoring a brave officer.”