Note: This post is the first in a series of articles focusing on cops in York using social media.
Information is power, says Carroll Township Police Department spokesman David Smith.
And the quicker that information can get out to the public, the better, the sergeant said recently.
It seems today that just as a cop might reach for a set of handcuffs or pen and paper, he might also be grabbing his cellphone and thumbing out a Tweet.
“Social media is kind of taking over with law enforcement because you can get information out almost real time,” Smith said.
The Carroll Township Police department is on the smaller side — it employs 11 officers and covers Dillsburg Borough along with Monaghan and Carroll townships. The department has yet to launch a Twitter account, but its Facebook page has garnered 1,253 likes.
On one of the page’s latest posts, the department shared an image of a cellphone which had been found on the street in Carroll Township. Later that same day, after 13 people shared the picture and information, the department commented that the phone had been returned to its owner.
“It’s new for us so we’re experimenting with it,” Sgt. Smith said. “As technology has grown, we have to figure out how we’re going to use it.”
For Smith, one of the best aspects of hopping on the social media wagon is that it provides another set of eyes during a police incident or investigation. Afterall, “the police can’t be everywhere at once,” he added.
To better understand the growing trends of social media, Smith said he attended a course with a group out of Maryland in March. The group, Smith said, is comprised of Baltimore city officials and the course also featured a local reporter who spoke about how social media has changed the manner in which information gets out to the public.
“If you look at everybody, they’re always looking at their phones,” Sgt. Smith said. “It’s the wave of the future. I’d like to use it more.”