The Herrin Police Department in Herrin, Illinois, is responding after nude and lewd photos appeared in the Google Review page for the department on Sunday, November 3. The issue caused the city’s official website to go down. The photos included a half-naked man in a police uniform, and were on Google for several hours.
“The Herrin Police Department is aware of the pictures that have been posted on Google. Let me be clear, we did not post these pictures nor do we at this time have any knowledge of how they were posted there. I have reported this problem to Google and reached out to a Cybercrime specialist regarding potential identification of the responsible parties,” Chief Quinn Laird said in a statement posted to the department’s Facebook page.
It is not clear if the man seen in one of the photos exposing himself in a police uniform is a Herrin Police Department officer or if the man in the photo is an officer for any department. Laird have said they are investigating what happened.
The Herrin Police Department website went down Sunday evening, November 3, as the department worked to sort things out. An error message reads, “You don’t have permission to access this resource. Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.”
Herrin, Illinois, is a city in Williamson County of about 12,500 people. The city is located in southern Illinois, near Carbondale, and is about two hours away from St. Louis, Missouri.
The Picture of the Man in the Police Uniform Exposing Himself Was Briefly the Main Photo for the Department on Google Search
The photos were posted by a Google user named “Megam Roy,” on the Herrin Police Department’s review page and pages for several other Herrin and southern Illinois-area businesses. Many of the photos, including the ones posted to the police department page, have since been taken down, but some remain (warning: graphic content at link).
The photo of the man in the police uniform exposing himself was briefly the main photo that came up on the Google search results page for the Herrin Police Department when someone searched terms like “Herrin Police,” “Herrin Police Illinois,” and “Herrin Police Department Herrin Illinois.”
On Twitter, several people tagged the department to point out the lewd picture. “@HerrinPolice
you might wanna Google yourselves and see what comes up. It’s not good,” one user wrote. Another said, “@HerrinPolice
y’all need to google yourselves…,” and a third wrote, “Google Herrin Illinois Police Department ????.”
The Police Chief Said Their Dispatch Center Phones Became So Busy That It Was ‘Interfering With Our Ability to Anser 911 Calls & Regular Calls for Service
Herrin Police Chief Quinn Laird said on Facebook, “Please do not call our dispatch center to report this. We are aware. The phones are so busy that it is interfering with our ability to answer 911 and regular calls for service. Thank you for your patience as we attempt to resolve this matter.”
Some have said that the police department’s website was “hacked,” but it does not appear that the pictures were posted on the department’s actual page. Anyone can upload photos to a public Google Review page.