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Centre Co. police department deals with mistaken social media identity

By: Marc Stempka

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There is more than one municipality with the name Ferguson in the United States, but there is only one Ferguson Township Police Department with that specific social media title, and the account has been busier than normal due to a national story.

The Ferguson Township Police Department in Centre County has been included in hundreds of tweets and other social media tags since the ongoing civil unrest following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri. Brown was unarmed.

The shooting happened in Ferguson, Missouri, which is in St. Louis County.

Brown's shooting has sparked a social media firestorm and wide-spread protests, riots and looting.

People are protesting the police officer's actions in the Brown shooting and law enforcement actions in the days following.

As the story builds throughout social media, several people have been tweeting @FergusonTwpPD. That account is linked to Ferguson Township police in Centre County.

Freguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad said her department is aware of the social media replies to her department's account, but said there's little they can say about the matter, other than it's a case of mistaken identity.

The department has been receiving tweets like, "@FergusonTwpPD @SLMPD You are botching the situation in #Ferguson horribly.Let the FBI take over and get out of justice's way!! #MikeBrown."

Wednesday night, the department tweeted, "Ferguson Township Police is in PA and not the agency involved in the shooting incident. @stlcountypd is who you want to contact."

That tweet was retweeted more than 450 times and favorited nearly 200 times as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Some people found that tweet lighthearted, despite the growing concern surrounding the situation in the Midwest.

One woman posted, "#TwitterProblems #FunnyButNotFunny MT @FergusonTwpPD: Ferguson Township Police is in PA and not the agency involved in the shooting incident," and another posted, "@FergusonTwpPD @jawshkruger @stlcountypd Oh I can imagine the phone calls that poor receptionist has gotten."

Some people have also commented on the township department's Facebook wall, like one man who wrote, "STOP HURTING THE PEOPLE YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO, "PROTECT & SERVE" YOU ALL ARE A DISGRACE TO THE NATION AND CONSTITUTION YOU ARE IGNORING!! !!"

Conrad said the department will continue to monitor their social media sites as the situation continues nearly 750 miles away.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times