For many of us Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts are a daily addiction, but for law enforcement they are proving to be a valuable asset in their day to day operations.
“There's a theory called community policing which basically involves the community and the police department working together,” said Officer Nicholas Conley with the Soda Springs Police Department. “We've found over long courses of study, that when a police department and community work hand in hand we're far more effective in solving crimes and being aware of crimes.”
In February of this year, the Soda Springs Police Department created a Facebook page as a way to reach out to the community.
“Often times folks only contact with the police is when they're pulled over or things like that,” Conley said. “We're hoping to show that we are really here to serve our public as well as to protect them.”
The page gives users a chance to communicate directly with the department on a number of different levels. On the animal control side of things, the page has met a large degree of success.
“We just gave it a test run and people really responded positively to it,” Conley said. “We reached 500 people with our first animal control post and were able to successfully locate the dog’s owner in a very short period of time. Through Facebook, their neighbors had noticed the picture and said, 'Hey, that's our neighbors dog, they're out of town and they are expected back at this time, and this is how you can reach them.' We were able to contact the owners and successfully place that dog.”
The department has also embraced another social media tool, Nixle. Users can submit their information to the service and in return receive real time alerts. It works in a similar manner to automated emergency phone calls issued by law enforcement, only cheaper to the taxpayer pocketbook.
“Reverse 911 is rather expensive to use, charging us a fee for each person that we call as well as a use fee each time we use it,” said Conley. “We use this free service and are able to save the taxpayers a little money and save everyone a little time.”
For more information on the Soda Springs Police Department social media pages you can visit the department’s website