Facebook to Catch Criminals

HEADLAND, AL-- With more than 1 billion people on Facebook, just about everyone either has or knows someone with an account.

We use it to catch up with friends and family. But, the Headland Police Department is using it to connect with criminals.

But now, police are turning to the world wide web to get on a different news feed.

Mark Jones, Headland Police Chief, said, “Facebook is so popular, it’s one of the means of communication that everybody has to have.”

The Headland Police Department jumped on the social media trend a few months ago. The idea seemed to be working for other agencies like the Houston County Sheriff’s office.

Jones said, “The warrant process we have had on it has been tremendous.”

With a click of a mouse, investigators send out mug shots.

Jones said, “It tells who they are and what they are wanted for.”

Then the tips flood in.

Jones said, “We’ve probably done about 80 arrests.”

Arrests span from the more serious down to minor offenses. “Failure to appears, none pays build up very quickly.”

And for a smaller department, help from the virtual world makes their jobs easier.

Sgt. Tony Smith said, “We’re low manpowered, but this gets the community involved.”

Jones said, “When one person shares, another persons got it on their Facebook and it just expands so quickly so there for we’ve actually had them turn themselves in.”

And in the digital age, even our first responders have to stay ahead.

Jones said, “You have to keep up with the electronic world or you are going to fall behind.”

One of the officers said he has seen a drastic drop in crime since starting the Facebook page, he didn’t want to say the two are definitely connected but he does think people just don’t want to see their face on their Facebook page.

Two Headland officers monitor the Facebook page everyday. They wanted to reassure the public that any message or tip sent to them will remain anonymous.

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