Getting your profile out there on social media is pretty much taken for granted in a lot of circles. But it seems a bit of a pleasant novelty with a couple of local police departments launching Facebook pages to help stay in touch with their public.
The police services in both Westville and Stellarton have recently started just such a project, in one instance, the result of a suggestion by a board member and in the other an idea brought forward by one of the officers.
That’s something perhaps that wouldn’t be anticipated by a lot of people. But there’s no doubt a police service that strives to be connected with the communities they serve is going to benefit, for a number of reasons.
We’ve become more and more accustomed to the concept of community policing in recent years. Local investigators are helped immensely when the public keeps an eye out for suspicious actions and incidents, reporting them to police. In addition, we have crime prevention organizations in Pictou County made up of volunteers who do a lot to provide that valuable connection between the public and the police.
The public has also benefited from the trend in recent years as police departments establish a liaison with the communities they serve, such as presentations in schools and publicity campaigns about law and order issues with local people in general.
Westville Police Chief Don Hussher said the two Facebook sites get a good share of views. Currently acting chief for the Stellarton service as well, Hussher also said the technology has great potential as an investigative tool – they’ve had examples of people checking out police postings about local crimes, information that gets shared on social media.
It’s pretty hard to beat in getting word around.
We can also hope, as those contemplating a crime catch on to this trend, that it will provide a degree of deterrence. If they know witnesses in the area can get a report to the police in an instant, they might want to reconsider.