Beach Town Considers Facebook to Combat Drunk Driving

A California beach town may turn to Facebook in an attempt to reduce drunk driving. City council members in Huntington Beach will consider a directive requiring police to post the mug shots of DUI repeat offenders on the department's Facebook page.

"In my view, posting this information is a reasonable step to take to enhance the safety of Huntington Beach residents and visitors," Devin Dwyer, the council member who submitted the idea, said in a memo distributed to city officials. Dwyer's original plan was to post the mug shots from every DUI arrest on Facebook when he first suggested his idea in November.

Drunk driving is a problematic issue in Huntington Beach, a seaside city with a population of about 200,000 and less than an hour's drive south of Los Angeles. In 2009, 1,687 people were arrested in the Huntington Beach for DUI, according to the Associated Press.

Dwyer said he became motivated after city residents complained that a local newspaper was going to stop publishing police arrest information. "Those residents and I believed that publishing the information may be a deterrent to future incidents of drunk driving in our city, and we wanted to find a way to continue making the information available to the public," Dwyer said in his memo.

But not everyone in Huntington Beach appears to be thrilled with Dwyer's plan. A city police spokesperson told the Associated Press that the department saw "no value" in the proposal and that law enforcement wasn't about "public shaming."

Despite the police department's opposition to the proposal, it has posted mug shots before on its Facebook page. In November, Huntington police posted the arrest of 52-year-old David Brian White for charges relating to child pornography. The police have also posted information about suspects arrested on burglary charges, hit and run driving offenses as well as public notices about DUI checkpoints. The Huntington Beach Police Department also publishes its arrest logs on the department's website.

The city's council meeting to consider Dwyer's proposal is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday and can be viewed online here.

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