He didn't really want to have to write about this.

This month I write to alleviate some fear and worry that is creeping into communities across the county. I hate to give it any time and legitimize it, but is has become something of an issue as of late. Before I go into it I want everyone to understand that while we are taking the issue seriously, I truly don’t believe there is much substance to it; mostly this is teenagers with a misguided sense of a practical joke.

The issue is the clown posts on social media that are being used to create fear and worry in communities. So far there have been no reports of any person in a clown costume causing physical harm to anyone. It is my belief, that if there is a case where a clown causes harm to someone, it is likely that person was going to cause harm anyway and dressing up like a clown was just a way to attain more attention.

Through this whole ordeal, arrests have been made against mostly teenagers who have put threatening messages online. The Sleepy Eye Police Department is aware of this issue and is monitoring social network sites for any activity that is related to this. If anyone puts out a credible threat, we will do everything in our power to find that person using computer records and arrest that person. We would do this anyway, clown context or not. We take all threats seriously and will react accordingly.

I hope parents speak with their teenage children about this. What seems like a prank could turn into criminal charges and like all things on social media, once the message, photo or video is out there, there is no taking it back. Think before you post. In the state of Minnesota it is actually a misdemeanor for an individual to conceal their identity in public using a mask or disguise unless the concealment is for amusement or entertainment. Anyone out in a clown suit will be stopped and questioned about what they are doing. Anybody found causing disorder or creating fear will be charged with the previous offense and disorderly conduct. Any threats of violence made will be charged as Terroristic Threats, a felony under Minnesota law. Again I say these things to alleviate fear from the community and as a warning to any potential pranksters.

As for Halloween, the police department will have extra officers on duty that night, as I know this seems like a day where this prank could pose a problem. Please report any issues to the Sleepy Eye Police Department right away and remember to stay in groups. In all my time here we have never had an incident on Halloween night. This year instead of one squad car out patrolling, we will have three. Please be safe, make smart choices, and I hope everyone has a good Halloween.