Pharos-Tribune

February 4, 2013

Area police use Facebook, others in investigations

Social media used to solve crime, promote safety

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

— With the large popularity of social media, police are looking into the medium as a way of solving crimes.

From the Indiana State Police to local departments, officers are using social media sites to learn more about the cases they’re working on and the people involved. While social media can point to crimes, police say they can also use social media to spread useful information.

Detective Tom Heflin with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department said he’s been able to use social media sites like Facebook to find suspects talking about the crimes they’ve committed.

“In the past, I’ve gotten some of my best information in social media,” Heflin said.

The Logansport Police Department also looks into social media sites as they function like an online community, according to Bryan Hillis, Assistant Chief of the Logansport Police Department.

“More and more, people are using social media sites to communicate,” Hillis said.

He said the police department has been able to work with the social networking sites to find key information for investigations.

“We work closely with the social media sites,” Hillis said

The Indiana State Police has also been exploring social media after holding a live webinar with the National White Collar Crime Center on the use of social media in investigations. The three-part webinar plans to make police more aware of how social media can be used to benefit them, according to a press release.

In addition to using social media for solving crimes, Hillis said police can also use social media to help promote safety tips and calm false rumors or panic about a crime.

“It’s a way to basically debunk that information,” Hillis said.

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