Brimfield Police Chief talks Facebook fame

Brimfield Police Chief and Facebook “internet sensation” David Oliver speaks to Kent State students on Oct. 8, 2013 about his many experiences in the police force. From years of helping on the drug task force, to his more recent ones that revolve around helping the community through his notoriety on Facebook, Oliver has built quite a background for himself prior to the interest buzz. Oliver recently released a book called “No Mopes Allowed”, inspired by the well-known Facebook page.

Mackenzie Blanton

Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver said he originally hoped to reach 500 “likes” on the Brimfield Police Department Facebook page (designed to inform the township of police activity) but he has now exceeded his goal reaching more than 88,000 “likes.”

When Oliver spoke to a Kent State class Tuesday afternoon, he told them about his early career and how he became the chief of police.

Oliver said he started as a patrol officer in Brimfield and was assigned to an undercover narcotics task force after two years. He then spent five years from 1996 to 2001 with Portage County’s undercover narcotics task force, which he described as the “best gig” of his career, besides becoming police chief.

“The time working undercover was just amazing,” Oliver said. “If you had seen me during that time frame, you would have crossed the street and ran.”

Oliver said his goatee was down to his belt, his eyebrows were pierced, his ears were pierced and his hair was past his shoulders.

“I was quite a mess,” Oliver said, “but I bought a lot of drugs.”

After the undercover narcotics task force, Oliver took a promotion to sergeant then was again promoted to chief of police.

Once Oliver settled in, he noticed a growth in social networking and decided to jump on the bandwagon and make a page for the Brimfield Police Department.

“Everybody’s on social media,” Oliver said. “Smartphones are coming into play, and everybody’s talking about this thing called Facebook.”

Oliver noticed there were Facebook pages for police departments but wasn’t impressed with the boring content.

“My mission with the Facebook page was to let all of you see what we see and hear what we hear,” Oliver said. “I wish you could smell what we smell on some days.”

After putting up “Chief’s Babble,” people started “liking” the page. Oliver said he thought the page would plateau at 5,000 “likes”.

“The thing that was weird was that I started noticing people from other states following,” Oliver said.

Media got word of Oliver’s Facebook success, and pieces ran in the Plain Dealer and The Record-Courier.

The Associated Press also decided to run a story, which made its way into more than 300 newspapers nationwide, and the page almost doubled in “likes,” Oliver said.

“I feel that everyone views him as a public figure, and they don’t see him as an individual that’s localized to us,” said Ashley Kilpatrick, a junior integrated language arts major.

Oliver said the Facebook page kept growing and more entertainment sources contacted the police department.

“Then the goofy stuff starts happening like Hollywood starts calling,” Oliver said. “We have had 14 offers for reality shows since all this started.”

However, Oliver said the police department has turned down all of the offers.

“You hear so many bad stories about brutality and crazy things happening,” said Max Miller, a junior integrated language arts major. “Then you have some guy come in here who turns down reality shows because they don’t benefit the community. It’s really incredible and refreshing to see.”

“The next thing I know a publisher is sending me a letter saying ‘I think you should write a book’,” Oliver said.

He wrote “No Mopes Allowed,” which was referred Sept. 21.

Oliver and his wife started the Chief Oliver Foundation to specifically support Brimfield Police programs and grant money to juvenile victims of assault using proceeds from the book, Oliver said.

“Reporters can’t cover everything, so we kind of fill that void by saying ‘if you saw officers out on Main Street today, here’s what’s going on,’” Oliver said.

Oliver said he’s working on a children’s book and possibly a social-media book in the future.

Contact Mackenzie Blanton at [email protected]