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Community members are invited to share their opinions on BenitoLink. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

This community opinion was contributed by Catherine Eva Booth-Vaughan. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors. BenitoLink invites all community members to share their ideas and opinions. You can write counter opinions or share your insights on current issues by emailing Noe Magaña at and following our Terms of Use.

Is Hollister Police Department A.B.L.E to do better?

It is ironic that watching on KSBW, there is a story about HPD, and a new learning program called Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (A.B.L.E.).

The goal of the program is to encourage all police employees to speak up and intervene anytime they witness misconduct.

The irony is that there is “misconduct” and unprofessionalism at best, almost daily on HPD social media page.

The page, consistently, puts on blast some, if not all, of the arrests made. The posts usually start and end with the slur, #dingbat. The post makes fun of the subject, the impending arrest, and the trip to “Flynn Inn” (county jail).

The author of these posts and by proxy, the Mayor, Chief Reysno and the entire HPD are the judge, the juror, and the Cyberbullies. See definition of cyberbullying here.

Also, ironically, when I googled the definition of cyberbullying and the police department, the first few pages were “how can your police department help you with cyber bullying”. They can’t help us. They are bullies.

Do not misunderstand this opinion. I am not defending the alleged crimes. We all hate crime, and it should be punished accordingly by the judicial system not by our local police poking fun and calling names.

This debate is about leadership and professionalism. How can we feel safe calling HPD about a family member, who may have made some poor choices, or may have a mental breakdown when we know that we and our family will be put on blast on this page? Hollister is a small community.

How can we have our children follow in HPD footsteps, when they, the police department are themselves the bullies?

I 100% expect to be bullied about this post because some of the community uses the HPD’s own cyberbullying as permission to pile on to the person protesting bullying.

This happens every time HPD gets called out on cyberbullying.

Crimes and mental health do not just have a negative, emotional and financial effect on the alleged criminal, it affects the entire family. It has profound effects.

And, to the mention of financial implications, why are we paying someone a six-figure salary to sit behind a keyboard and poke fun, name call, and escalate a bad situation with condescending replies to his/her constituents?

Again, Hollister is a very small town. The neighbors, employers, etc. will know, thanks to HPDs cyberbullying, it was your son, daughter, husband, wife who made a poor choice, or suffered a mental breakdown.

I have messaged Mayor Mia about this twice.

Her first response was:

“I am not sure I agree that this is cyber bullying. I believe the intent of the posts is to humanize the police to the community and improve relations, to be visible out there. I think they are trying to use humor to achieve this. Is it effective, I don’t know. Does it miss the mark at times, maybe. But I don’t know if I agree that it rises to the level of cyber bullying.”

Her most recent response:

“The Chief does not write this stuff. I have talked to him in the past and relayed concerns and I will be following up with him on this particular post because it is being perceived as mocking folks with mental illness issues.”

Here is a past link to her opinion on bullying:

It is unacceptable that our police department is using these crimes as comedy to “be visible and improve relations”.

Eventually, the City of Hollister and HPD will get slapped with a libel lawsuit and it is our taxpayer dollars that will be used to settle any damages incurred by the complainant.

The damages go beyond lawsuits. These tactics show the world how small Hollister Police Department really is.

We should demand more from our “leaders”!!!!!

In reality, I guess I should not expect more from a city/county that has a eight-foot phallic penis rock in front of their government building.

Do better Hollister Police Department.