That used to be the motto of many police departments. Today it’s more like To prosecute and serve warrants.

Suppose you were talking on the phone to your Little Old Granny who lives across the country from you. Then she stops talking. You become worried about her and call the police. It happens all the time. It’s called a welfare check.

Now suppose that the police arrive and find Granny snoozing. She fell asleep while on the phone. Hey, that happens too. The police arrest Granny and charge her for “second-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree falsely reporting an incident.”

Sounds far-fetched? Sure, but suppose a few details were changed. Instead of Granny on the phone, it’s a lonely guy on the internet. That’s exactly what happened to Joseph W. Shepherd of Lockport. Sure, he had talked about his thinking about suicide, but he didn’t actually do anything. All he did was fall asleep while the webcam was running.

So, did the police arrive and say “Thank goodness, nothing is wrong. The poor guy is safe and sound.” No, they arrest him and charge him with second-degree aggravated harassment and third-degree falsely reporting an incident.

Glad he’s okay…

[This story was widely reported in the media – here’s the Lockport Union Sun and Journal story.]