Social Media and Law Enforcement
After the Boston marathon bombings, social media played a major role on the incident providing true facts and other times not so true. Media is a means of communication with the intent to influence a wide audience (Stuart, 2013). Social networking, which allows multiple people to share information with one another and it provides the public with reporting power of major or everyday incidents with the push of a button. Law enforcement agencies are well aware of this and have stepped up their efforts of using this means of communications as a crime fighting tool. Social media can be used for public relations, crime prevention, and criminal investigation. Departments that create a presence on social media sites open a new door of communication with the general public. By doing so citizens can receive real-time information, as well as an electronic method of asking questions, making suggestions, and providing tips that help solve crimes (Stuart, 2013). However, there has to be some kind of controls established to manage the information in a way that does not create misinformation and technicalities. Community Policing
In the first 48 hours of the Boston marathon bombings, law enforcement officials released to the public information on the suspects and asked the people to share with them any information they had in reference to the incident and social media played a great role. A picture clearly shows one of the eventual suspects with a backpack standing next to the finish line railing and another picture after the explosion show the same individual calmly walking away with no backpack. This information was vital to the investigation and identification of the perpetrators. According to Dan Alexander, Chief of Police, Boca Raton, Florida, Police Services Department (2008) the Boca Raton, Florida, Police Services Department (BRPD) was one of the first law enforcement departments in the country to embrace social...
References: Alexander, D. (2013). Using Technology to Take Community Policing to the Next Level. The Police Chief, 1-2.
Hanson, W. (2011). How Social Media Is Changing Law Enforcement . Government Technology, 1-4.
Lane, M. (2013). Court Cases Easier to Solve With Social Media. BELLEFONTE: wearecentralpa.com.
Mullins, K. (2011). OP-Ed Law enforcement needs to step up their use of social media . Digital Journal, 2.
Stuart, R. (2013). Social Media: Establishing Criteria for Law Enforcement Use. FBI Law enforcement bulletin, 1-2.
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