Police departments may not be known for their senses of humor, but Laguna Beach is being recognized for just that.
The department’s social media team — comprised of eight police employees, whom the department declined to identify, is a finalist in the “best use of humor on social media” category for the 2018 Golden Post Awards.
Government Social Media Organization (GSMO), an advisory institute and networking group for government social media managers nationwide, gives out the awards.
Laguna’s entry is “Crime Reports with a Literary Twist.”
Jordan Villwock, emergency operations coordinator for Laguna Beach police, noted that the GSMO praised “how we effectively communicate our crime log with some light humor.”
Laguna submitted a Facebook entry from Nov. 7, which garnered 600 “likes” and was shared more than 250 times.
It began with a story of how Laguna’s crime log is like the unnamed writer’s morning newspaper. The writer called the log a “smattering” of drunk-in-public arrests, petty thefts, the occasional vehicle burglary and preserving the peace call.
Then the post goes into something more bizarre.
It describes a vandalism incident near the Lumberyard, a restaurant directly across from the police station along Forest Avenue. The post says a man and woman were captured on video around 3:30 a.m. destroying the lights in front of the restaurant to the tune of $2,000 in damages.
“Makes sense, right?” the post reads. “I mean, beating up a light pole isn’t how I would impress my significant other, but I digress.”
The post then says that the vandalism suspects had visited the police station recently to bail out a friend who had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
“You obviously didn’t see the cameras on Forest Avenue pointed at the Lumberyard did you?” the post says. “They’re there, and they caught you leaving our station and going across the street.
“Yep, all on video. Oops.”
The entry says police compared video footage of when the suspects posted bail for their friend to the footage shot of the vandalism incident. Using both, they were able to make a connection.
“So when you showed up to our station to pick him up, and we compared our video in our lobby area to the video from the Lumberyard incident, guess what we got? A match,” the post says. “Bad news squared.”
The writer then urges the suspects to admit their mistake or else Laguna police will come to their parents’ house in Tustin, where they live.
“See, we aren’t bluffing,” it says.
“Either way, it’s up to you,” the writer adds. “I like Tustin. There’s an excellent deli on the corner of Newport and Irvine (1.4 miles from your house). So we hope to see you soon. It’s really your choice. Knock on our door or we’ll knock on yours (your parents).”
This generated a host of comments and compliments and a discussion about said deli, Bronx Sandwich Co.
Two days after the Facebook post, Laguna Beach police arrested Noah Laguna, then 19, of Tustin. He is facing a misdemeanor vandalism charge in connection with the incident.
He has not yet entered a plea, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
Laguna’s competition in the category includes an “Iced Pipes Baby video” from the city of Walla Walla, Wash., and the Lawrence (Kansas) Police Department’s post titled, “I’m sorry, Blake. This is awkward, but that’s not a police car.”
Winners will be announced during an expo in Denver on April 25.
Daily Pilot staff writer Hannah Fry also contributed to this report.