Law enforcement getting on the social media bandwagon

Law enforcement getting on the social media bandwagon

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Local police departments are getting on the social media bandwagon and using sites like Facebook to post mug shots and let the public know what their department is up to.    

The Trinity Police Department is on Facebook and if you get arrested, you will be too.
Trinity Police Chief, Steven Jones says, "We started off putting our mug shots on our Facebook page and we're going to be continuing to do that. There was a lot of controversy when we first started doing it because people didn't like it."

In addition to maintaining a Facebook, Trinity also posts arrest records on their website

Jones says his main goal with starting up a Facebook is to let the community know the department is out there working.

He says it's too early to know if postings on Facebook have influenced the amount of crime in the area but he has definitely seen a change from the people being arrested. "They're not worried about being arrested. They're not worried about their charge. The only thing they're worried about is: you're not putting my picture on Facebook. So you get a little bit of a laugh at that and it's public record. If you don't want your picture on the page; don't get arrested. It's that simple."

Trinity Police Department uses Facebook for more than just posting mug shots but to get the word out to the community about emergencies or road closures quickly and efficiently.

Jones says he thinks law enforcement will use social media and Facebook a lot more in the future. Jones says has already helped several other agencies set up their Facebook pages and even suggests that Facebook might look into the idea of making a special section of Facebook just for law enforcement.

Wanda Wesch owns, Mama Tried in Downtown Lufkin and she says she thinks it's a good idea for police to post mug shots on their Facebook pages. "Well I kinda think that it's a good thing and that at least you know up ahead what's going on with that person. On the other hand, if I were that person, I'd probably feel a whole lot different."

Wesch says she recently had a situation with an employee where she wished she had checked them out on Facebook before hiring them. "If I were in the market for someone to work here, I probably would check them out either that or hire people that come recommended."

Wesch says her shop comes first but that doesn't mean that people who have made mistakes shouldn't have a second chance.

Chief Jones says he hopes the public will keep in mind, that any pictures posted on their Facebook just means that person has been arrested...not convicted of a crime.