The Jasper Police Department launched a Facebook page this week because of the social network’s ability to both disperse and receive information.
Police Chief Greg Lovell said Facebook has proven to be a “valuable tool” for other police departments with investigation and a great avenue to provide information.
Lovell said he talked to other police chiefs who encouraged him to have an official page as other departments have seen important tips provided through the site and have used it to make regular updates on roads, weather and public safety information.
He said the Canton Police Department is among those who routinely put the technology to effective use in providing public information and investigative work.
In Jasper, information from Facebook gathered by detectives was used to help identify two people from Marietta who committed a home invasion here.
The chief said other departments have found people will often provide tips through e-mails or websites that they won’t call an officer to give.
Lovell said other police departments say posting pictures of people they want to identify on Facebook has produced consistent tips. He said the images may come from security cameras and can be posted directly on the site.
“As small and tight-knit as Jasper is, this could be really useful,” Lovell said.
Lovell said he was further convinced of the need for a Facebook site when the department’s phone rang constantly with people wanting road information during winter ice days earlier this year.
The chief said he didn’t use Facebook personally, but recognized that a growing number of his officers are using it. He said only three of the employees of the department didn’t have a Facebook account. “Even some of the 50-year-old officers are using it to keep in touch with people from other areas,” he said.
Lovell said it will be up to the younger detectives to administer the site, but along with the site there will be set protocols for all officers in a “social networking policy.”
“I’m really excited about our new technology and how it may help the department,” Chief Lovell said.