Social media and justice

KIMT NEWS 3 – Many police stations are starting to say “out with the old and in with the new” at least where some procedures are involved.

Instead of going door-to-door looking for a suspect, an easy way to reach many more people is by social media.

“We’ve probably used Facebook for the last four years,” says Lieutenant Brad Worrall with the Charles City Police Department.

Businesses are used to adapting as new and better ways of doing things come about. Police stations are no different, even when it comes to social media.

“What we’ve seen is that the public can certainly provide us a lot of information very quickly,” says Worrall.

Earlier this week, they reached out to their Facebook followers, asking for help in identifying one law breaking citizen.

“The posting we put up today actually was a person putting items out at a business illegally, dumping basically, and within less than an hour that person was identified because of this. That would have been the only way we could have solved that,” adds Worrall.

And it’s not only for identifying people, it’s also good for digging a little deeper.

“We do use Facebook in our investigations office for gathering information in case work and things like that, so it’s definitely a good tool and it’s a good source of information, and a good source of intelligence in a lot of cases,” says Officer Jeremy Ryal with the Mason City Police Department.

“However”, he says,”you always have to be careful what you put out for thousands to see.”

“Once you’ve said something, once you’ve posted something out there, it’s out there forever, you can’t take it back,” he says.

While the Mason City Police Department currently doesn’t have their own Facebook page, Ryal definitely see’s it happening.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see that, it is a very good tool,” he adds.

As for Worrall, he is just happy to have another way to keep his community safe.

“It gives us a lot more eyes to help ultimately make a safer place,” he says.

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