Police Use Social Media To Find Wanted Individuals

With social media accelerating the pace at which information is disseminated, it’s no surprise that local police agencies are taking advantage of it to hunt down wanted individuals.

On Feb. 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new statewide initiative to have the New York State Police expand its use of social media. The State Police, in response, launched “Warrant Wednesday,” wherein wanted posters are added to the division’s Facebook page, featuring people with arrest or bench warrants from across the state.

“New York state is using new and creative tools to help make our streets and neighborhoods safer,” Cuomo said. “Social media’s broad appeal can help the State Police track down those wanted in connection with crimes and bring them to justice.”

Each “Warrant Wednesday” posting will include a photo, information about the subject, what they are wanted for and a contact number for the appropriate State Police station, according to the governor’s office. Postings are also shared on the New York State Police Twitter page.

“The State Police has already seen the benefits of broadening our use of social media,” said Joseph D’Amico, state police superintendent. “Expanding this initiative statewide will allow us to take full advantage of social media’s widespread reach to a large, diverse audience.”

Indeed, Chautauqua County and Jamestown police are also taking advantage of social media’s long reach.

According to Chautauqua County Undersheriff Charles J. Holder, social media has “absolutely” made an impact.

“When we put up news releases and surveillance camera photos, we get a lot of positive hits,” Holder said.

“We get great feedback from social media,” echoed Robert F. Samuelson, division commander of the Jamestown Police Department. “It’s been a tremendous asset to us in law enforcement.”

Samuelson added that social media exposure has led to the identification of several individuals.

The New York State Police and Jamestown Police Department Facebook pages do not require an account to view. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office website can be accessed at: www.sheriff.us.