The department used its Facebook account Sunday to post a picture of a sign used to panhandle and showed the $234.94 it collected from a man they say was booked for public intoxication.
The post quickly spread with more than 30,000 shares and 24,000 likes inciting comments from thousands.
One commenter wrote, "Just when I think this place can't get any more backward. I will give MY money to whoever I please. You're seriously telling us, like we're children, how we should treat people?"
"Public shaming, nice. Cheyenne Police Department should be ashamed of themselves. What they do with their money is none of your business and Addiction isn't a punchline in a Facebook post. Awful," another said.
But many other comments were in support of the police department, including one that read, "It's funny, everyone wants to attack the pd for trying to raise awareness for severe alcoholism, and the publics accidental enabling. Everyone freaks out thinking they stole his money."
The department posted a clarification to the original post Tuesday stating the money "was inventoried along with his property when he was arrested and is held for safekeeping until he is released."