MENLO PARK, Calif.—On a recent afternoon, police officer Mary Ferguson visited the home of a teenager in this Silicon Valley suburb who had been missing school and was on probation.
Officer Ferguson approached the boy's father as part of her rounds and asked if he checks the teen's Facebook page to make sure he's "on the up and up." When the man said he didn't, the officer assured him she did—thanks to a Facebook account she uses as part of her job that doesn't reveal her true identity. "I'll keep my eye on him," she said.
Officer Ferguson, 34 years old, is sometimes called "The Facebook Cop," but it isn't for her savvy use of social media. It is because her salary and benefits are paid entirely by Facebook Inc., which is based in this well-off city of 32,000.In an unusual deal, the social-networking giant has agreed to fund a $194,000-a-year police position, including salary and benefits. The position is controlled by Menlo Park and the primary duties of the job are to keep children in school, work with juvenile offenders, and help large local businesses such as Facebook plan for emergencies like fires, earthquakes or violent intruders
VIDEO + MORE