Mope (noun): "A person who leeches off of society and is usually engaged in criminal behavior."
Example? "The police just arrested some mope for stealing a laptop computer."
A non-comprehensive list of people considered "mopes": Sexual predators, drug dealers, deadbeat parents, burglars, thieves and anyone who commits a crime in the presence of a child or victimizes senior citizens, according to Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver, who uses the phrase frequently on the department's popular Facebook page, which now counts 31,000-plus Facebook users as fans.
The term is not new to police, who have used it for years as a gentler way to describe the criminal element, he said. It can refer to someone of any age, gender, race or economic status.
"Facebook has made the 'mope' thing popular. It's an old, old police word. If you watch any old historical TV shows, it was used in larger cities. We didn't invent it, but we're kind of bringing it back," Oliver said.
Now, the anti-mope attitude is helping the Brimfield Police Department keep students in the Field School District a little safer. "No mopes" decals, featuring the word "mopes" with a red circle and slash through it, are being sold for $5, with proceeds from the sales going into a fund that will help pay for security upgrades in local schools.
"They're catching on. All profits received by the police department will go directly into a fund to help purchase things we need for our schools to help secure them: Panic buttons, bulletproof glass, anything that will help keep the bad guys on the outside, and keep the good guys on the inside from becoming victims," Oliver said.
"Everyone believes in the school cause … we know schools across the entire country are having financial problems, and sometimes in order to get these problems remedied, there's not the money," Oliver added. "We thought if we could help out, we should. If something ever happened, I'd have a great deal of difficulty laying my head on a pillow ever again."
He said the idea for merchandising was brought up by a Young's Screenprinting employee who stopped by one of the Brimfield Police Department's Fill-A-Cruiser fund-raisers this past holiday season with an "I (heart) Chief" T-shirt.
The decals are available by calling 330-922-5777 or stopping by at Young's Screenprinting, 1245 Munroe Falls Ave., Cuyahoga Falls. They can be shipped anywhere. The police department also is working with Young's on several T-shirt designs that will go on sale this month.
Oliver said he is not into name-calling, but believes society needs to "become a little more intolerant of people who commit crimes for a living."
"When we start yelling about it being unacceptable," he wrote on Facebook, "people will take notice and the practice will shift; either by putting people in jail, funding drug treatment or behavioral changes by the criminals."
Oliver also concedes there is hope for mopes.
"Once a mope, NOT ALWAYS a mope," he wrote. "People change. I have seen it with my own eyes."
Follow Dave O'Brien on Twitter at @RCCrimeWatch
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or firstname.lastname@example.org