PITTSTON TWP. — Police officers took to social media recently to warn residents of a potential threat in playground equipment.
The Pittston Township Police Department Facebook page re-posted a Facebook photo taken by the police department in Platte, S.D., warning its residents of fish hooks in swing sets.
Pittston Township Police Sgt. Pete Hockenberry saw the photo on his personal Facebook account and knew he had to share it with township residents on the police account.
“It’s to raise awareness,” he said of posting the photo.
Hockenberry noted he doesn’t believe the fish hooks are a threat in this area, nor are they signs of a gang, but rather just “juveniles horsing around.”
Although the fish hooks are small, he said, the danger they pose is more serious than meets the eye.
“That’s an infant’s seat,” Hockenberry said of the swing shown in the photo. “Their skin is so sensitive. That’ll just shred their whole back up when you put them in and take them out.”
As of Wednesday evening, the post on the Pittston Township Police Department’s Facebook page had been shared over 8,300 times and had nearly 400 comments from residents in and out of Luzerne County expressing concerns.
Hockenberry said there were comments on the page from people pointing out it should not have been posted, as it was not from the area.
“I posted it for awareness for the community in this area because we also have parks,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it happens across the state or down the street from your house; it happens anywhere.”
Although the fish hooks are of no immediate threat to the area, Hockenberry cautions parents and guardians to check playground equipment before letting their child play on it.
He said the department recently had someone check both township parks — Attardo Park and Oriole Park — for anything similar, but nothing was found.
Township police Sgt. Ken Santos said police officers will keep their eyes open for anything similar, but he said it’s up to residents to also check playground equipment.
“Even if this does give someone an idea and they put something there or try to put something there, people can be mindful and say ‘Hey, I heard about this’ and look at it despite the fact that someone is trying to copy it,” said Santos. “Hopefully, they’ll say, ‘I picked up on this because I saw it in the past.’ Again, it’s just bringing awareness.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher.