Lab, who doesn't use Facebook and had not viewed the Brimfield page, said now that it has gone viral, it no longer serves its intended purpose because the majority of its audience is in no way connected with Brimfield.
"It's titillating," he said of the page's surge in popularity. "It's morbid voyeurism by people in general."
Molly Merryman, associate chair of sociology in the Criminology and Justice Studies program at Kent State University, which is about 15 minutes from Brimfield, says social media plays an increased role in informing communities like Brimfield that are not connected to a major media market.
"He's been a chief for a long time and knows his community very well," she said. If the Facebook page is "an extension of the police department and has the community's blessing, then it certainly can be appropriate."
Merryman said the U.S. criminal justice system has a long history of public shaming that can be traced to the Puritans. Shaming is still commonly used in the juvenile justice system, where the goal is to make the violator recognize society's expectation for proper behavior, she said.
Oliver said that while what he posts about alleged criminals is public record, he never uses names, pictures or exact locations when discussing suspects' purported actions.
"I don't want anybody humiliated," he said. "I'm very sensitive to collateral damage by people who commit crimes and I don't want a family member suffering."
According to the FBI, in 2011, approximately one crime was reported for every 36 people living in Brimfield Township. Almost 96% of reported crimes were property crimes, of which larceny and theft made up 80%. Brimfield Township reported no murders or homicides in 2011, and a total of 12 violent crimes, half of which were rape.
A native of nearby Akron, Ohio, Oliver has spent his entire 19 years as a police officer working in Brimfield, the last nine as chief.
"I'm an inner-city kid," he said. "I did my share of running the streets. ... I don't see color. I don't see sex. I have friends of all persuasions. I just don't get along well with criminals."