East Texas law enforcement capitalize on social media for policing

Published: Apr. 12, 2015 at 11:08 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2015 at 3:37 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Many law enforcement agencies are arming themselves with a nonthreatening ammunition to fight crime: social media. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges began his law enforcement career two decades ago. There was no such thing as social media then. But when he ran for sheriff in 2014, he created a Facebook and continues to use it today for policing the East Texas county.

“I get tips all the time. And we follow up on those tips,” he said while at his desktop computer. “And it has led to drug arrests. It has led to burglary arrests. Thieves arrests. You name it. Sexual pedophiles as well.”

Kilgore Police Department is using social media to build community relationships and to showcase problem areas to warm residents where to stay away from. On Thursday, KPD partnered with residents, spiritual leader, community activists and city officials and shut down two crack houses.

In Angelina County, Sheriff Greg Sanches says he receive a lot of tips on their Facebook page and mobile App. His department received a lot of feedback on social media involving a missing person's case and a wanted person case.

“It work really quickly,” said the cowboy-wearing sheriff. “Within a couple of hours we got a call. Just here recently. It's been very good. The public likes it.”

Lufkin City Hall does not have a designated Facebook page or Twitter account for Lufkin Police Department. However, LPD has teamed up with Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers and it has a very active Facebook page.

DETCS has a little more than 240 likes for its Facebook page. However, when it posts videos of unnamed suspects, social media tips pour in helping the joint-agency group identify and catch suspects.

“You never know what's going to pop up on Facebook or what somebody's might be sending you in a private message,” Sheriff Bridges said as a new Facebook message posted to his page. “I think it's something law enforcement is expanding on. If they're not, they should be.”

Law enforcement say social media is giving people more confidence to send crime tips, pictures and videos...because anonymity from those committing the crime. And that is making solving crimes a lot easier and in some cases--safer.

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