News Column

Police Department Harnessing the Power of Social Media

May 15, 2013

The Superior Police Department is harnessing the power of social media to lengthen the arm of the law. Whether looking for information about a crime or suspect vehicle or trying to locate someone with an outstanding warrant, Facebook postings often yield results.

"Well over 50 percent of the photos we post we get actionable information on," said Superior Deputy Chief Nick Alexander. The most recent push has been to locate people with outstanding warrants, some of whom owe big bucks in court fees. As part of a warrant crack-down that began March 1, officers with the police and Douglas County Sheriff's departments have been actively seeking people with outstanding warrants. At the police department, that translates into using in-house records and other tools to locate the suspects. Often, the work is done by officers on light duty.

"It's a good project to have someone working on who can't be out on the street," Alexander said. When traditional methods of tracking those with warrants fail, the officers turn to the internet. Members of the public can aid the search through text tips, Facebook posts and calls to the tipline.

The number of people with warrants being highlighted on the police department's page has increased recently and Alexander said it's been getting a good response. He encouraged everyone to stay tuned.

"Check the Facebook page occasionally," Alexander said. "You might see a picture you can help us out on."

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Source: (c) 2013 the Superior Telegram (Superior, Wis.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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