Connects Against Crime

Connects Against Crime

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Corridor Police Officers Using Social Media for Crime Fighting

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:16 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KGAN) -- An Iowa City Police Officer is attacked back in January and the struggle is caught on dash cam. Surveillance photos later show the suspect in a nearby restaurant and across Johnson County, a new crime fighting tool brings in tips to his identity.

"Ultimately it was very successful in getting that person apprehended," says Officer Hanna Dvorak.

It is social media, sites like FaceBook and Twitter are becoming helpful for law enforcement officers as a new tool for crime fighting in this modern digital age.

"The communities are a little bit more techno savvy with all the cellphones and computers," says Alton Poole.

So local law enforcement agencies are getting social.

"Our police department initially started with Twitter and that was about four years ago," says Officer Dvorak.

Today, the number of Twitter users following Coralville Police is around 900.

"It's great to have that kind of instantaneous connection with people in the community that you wouldn't otherwise have," Dvorak said.

It's a service police officers are using a number of different ways, like reporting weather conditions or safety information, but police use the networking sites for crime fighting.

"We're able to get out safety information, self protection information out to alert our citizens, to alert our citizens to better protect themselves.

The University of Iowa Public Safety Department is ranked fifth by The International Association of Police Chiefs for the number of followers on its social media sites.

"We decided last year to take another look at our social media and be a little more proactive," says Poole.

Johnson County Police agencies saw a record number of followers in January when they sought help finding Brandon Plummer, the man who allegedly attacked that Iowa City Police Officer. Police Officers know social media and they way it can be used is evolving.      

"Part of our goal was to continually change the face of social media, to keep people interested," says Poole.

Interested in a tool to protect the communities in which we live.

Kelsey Minor, CBS 2 News  

Corridor Police Officers Using Social Media for Crime Fighting

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