Police using social media, but not to make friends - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

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Police using social media, but not to make friends

Law enforcement said social media sites like Facebook can both help and hurt police work.

"It can do both," said Officer Darin Hickey. "It gets a lot of information to a lot of people at one time."

He said the effects from the networking site are both something they want to "like," and something sometimes they don't.

"Facebook can help in many different ways, whether it be for an investigation, or information gathering, or information distribution," said Hickey.

Hickey said the department can post information like a most wanted criminal or people can send them investigation tips.

"It's becoming such a technology driven world we get tips throughout different ways," said Hickey.

Jackson Police Chief James Humphreys agrees Facebook can be a useful tool. He said the department is in the process of creating a Facebook account so the public can easily access the police.

But Hickey said it's not always a helpful notification that hits the Internet. He said social media can sometimes cause problems during an investigation.

"Sometimes rumors can spread that way," said Hickey.

Hickey said when people share false information and it shows up on the news feed of hundreds of friends it can hinder police work.

"We deal with truth, we deal with fact, that's the only thing we're concerned with. So when we're dealing with something that may sometimes get exaggerated, or blown out of proportion, or even unfortunately, some people even do not tell the truth, when you're dealing with those things, and you're trying to conduct an investigation where you're dealing with fact, and you're dealing with the truth, it can hinder than investigation when our detectives are looking into stuff," said Hickey.

But law enforcement still encourages people to use the site to stay connected with local authorities.

Hickey said other social media sites like Twitter don't make as big of an impact on police work as Facebook, because he said more people use Facebook.

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