Law officers now walking the digital beat via facebook, twitter - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Law officers now walking the digital beat via facebook, twitter

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ROSENBERG, Texas (FOX 26) -

The Boston Marathon bombing showed us the awesome power of social media.

The good, rapidly identifying the suspects through civilian photos and law enforcement rapidly keeping the public abreast of developments.

The bad, misinformation circulating rapidly and public interference in the man hunt.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are studying on how to use the good aspects of social media.

The Rosenberg Police Department is already all in, and it's seeing results already.

"We get tips all the time from facebook. We get them through tweets that are sent to us. It's helped us solve crimes. It's helped tear down some of the barriers between us and the community, " says Rosenberg Assistant Chief Dallis Warren.

Warren says that in just seven months, the Rosenberg Police facebook page has hit 5-thousand likes.

They use the page to update people about accidents and crimes, introduce new officers, and show the lighter side of the thin blue line.

From officers holding pets up for adoption to goofy group photos there's no kidding about how seriously this small department takes social media.

Facebook is better for sending out public information.

Twitter is a better way to get anonymous or at least private tips.

Using Social media in law enforcement is not new.

During the hunt for Chris Dorner, the former LAPD officer who went on a killing spree, police monitored social media to see if online support for the fugitive turned into actual support.

Departments like HPD routinely turn to social media to get information during investigations or to put out alerts.

So does the Harris Country Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Garcia was tweeting during the Lone Star College mass stabbing incident.

But those are individuals in the department doing it on their own for special reasons. Or the department occasionally tasking someone to put out something specific.

Not everyone is doing what Rosenberg does, at least not yet.

Fully committing to social media and using it as a so-called force multiplier for the small 38 patrol officer department.

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