On the digital beat, York County cops embrace social media

Note: This post is the first in a series of articles focusing on cops in York using social media.

Carroll Township Police frequently post on its Facebook page. The department is one of many across York County that use social media to get information out to the public.

Carroll Township Police frequently post on its Facebook page. The department is one of many across York County which use social media to get information out to the public.

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.

Earlier this month, Carroll Township police posted this image of a lost cell phone. Later that day, thanks to sharing of the image on Facebook, the phone was returned to its owner.

Earlier this month, Carroll Township police posted this image of a lost cell phone. Later that day, thanks to sharing of the image on Facebook, the phone was 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.”

About gordonrago

I am a night cops reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. I was born and raised in a small town north of New York City and landed in York at the end of April. Prior to the move, I lived in North Idaho for just over a year. There, in a mountainous region famously known as the Silver Valley, I reported the news for a small daily newspaper. But once the opportunity came to work and live in York, I packed up my car and drove back east. Newspapers are in my blood as both my parents were reporters. I look forward to this new opportunity and learning about what York County has to offer.
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One Response to On the digital beat, York County cops embrace social media

  1. lesley says:

    so is using social media for this purpose is wrong?

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