Thousands of people in New Mexico are keeping an eye on the police – through law-enforcement postings on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs, reports the Assoiciated Press. Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz says social media are “taking the wanted poster to the next level” to put extra eyes on the streets and help keep citizens informed. Law-enforcement agencies large and small post information on Facebook and send text messages and alerts directly to citizens. Albuquerque’s police chief and the city’s public safety director tweet, or type messages into Twitter.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, in a September survey of 728 police departments nationwide, found 81 percent already use social media and most that didn’t were considering it. Taos Police Chief Rick Anglada, who put his department on Facebook and Twitter in January, recently posted a grainy video on YouTube showing a group of young people suspected in a string of burglaries using a bolt cutter on a lock. Anglada hoped the video would help identify them. He’d also like to use YouTube for educational videos on subjects such as what burglars look for in vehicles. “We can provide a lot of tools like that, so the public can have that ah-ha moment,” Anglada said. Hobbs officer Mike Stone said his department, in a town of about 30,000 residents, has more than 3,000 Facebook fans. Albuquerque’s Schultz said law enforcement initially was skeptical about social media. Now, he said, “We’re trying to capitalize on it, and we’re seeing some promising results.”